Forging the fatherland: Criminality and citizenship in modern Mexico.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/186853
Title:
Forging the fatherland: Criminality and citizenship in modern Mexico.
Author:
Buffington, Robert Marshall.
Issue Date:
1994
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This study examines elite discourse about crime and criminality in modern Mexico. This discourse was intimately connected to discussions of citizenship (and thus inclusion in the Mexican nation-state) which became increasingly important after Independence from Spain in 1821. Elites recognized that a broad, egalitarian definition of citizenship was a potent source of legitimation for a nation in the throes of self-definition. To these discussions of citizenship, discourse about crime and criminality added an effective counterpoint, identifying individuals and groups within the new nation that merited exclusion. Specifically, this study examines the emerging discourses of criminology and penology which attempted to bring a rational, even scientific approach to the long-standing problem of crime. These "liberal" discourses (and the criminal justice system they inspired) eschewed the overtly racist and classist legal legacy of Mexico's colonial past. However, despite their egalitarian pretensions, criminology and penology often rearticulated colonial social distinctions, first by covertly embedding traditional biases in a contradictory liberal rhetoric and later by legitimizing these prejudices with evolutionary science. Ultimately, little changed in post-Independence Mexican social relations: the poor, the indio, the mestizo continued to be excluded from participation in mainstream society, not because they were legally segregated as in the colonial period but because of their supposed criminality. Even Mexico's great social revolution generated few effective changes. Like their predecessors, revolutionary elites attempted to exploit the legitimizing potential of the criminal justice system but again without significantly redefining its basic clientele. The socially-marginal continued to pose a threat to public order and economic progress; thus they continued to be excluded from public life. Within this larger context, specific chapters also function as independent essays: chapter one examines the racist and classist subtexts embedded in post-Enlightenment, "classic" criminology; chapter two, the role of evolutionary science in legitimizing these subtexts; chapter three, the use of popular literary techniques in the construction of "scientific" criminology; chapter four, the place of prison reform in Mexican political discourse; and chapter five, the role of penal code reform in political legitimation.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Crime -- Mexico.; Criminology -- Mexico.; Prisons -- Mexico -- History.; Criminal justice, Administration of -- Mexico -- History.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
History; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Meyer, Michael

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleForging the fatherland: Criminality and citizenship in modern Mexico.en_US
dc.creatorBuffington, Robert Marshall.en_US
dc.contributor.authorBuffington, Robert Marshall.en_US
dc.date.issued1994en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study examines elite discourse about crime and criminality in modern Mexico. This discourse was intimately connected to discussions of citizenship (and thus inclusion in the Mexican nation-state) which became increasingly important after Independence from Spain in 1821. Elites recognized that a broad, egalitarian definition of citizenship was a potent source of legitimation for a nation in the throes of self-definition. To these discussions of citizenship, discourse about crime and criminality added an effective counterpoint, identifying individuals and groups within the new nation that merited exclusion. Specifically, this study examines the emerging discourses of criminology and penology which attempted to bring a rational, even scientific approach to the long-standing problem of crime. These "liberal" discourses (and the criminal justice system they inspired) eschewed the overtly racist and classist legal legacy of Mexico's colonial past. However, despite their egalitarian pretensions, criminology and penology often rearticulated colonial social distinctions, first by covertly embedding traditional biases in a contradictory liberal rhetoric and later by legitimizing these prejudices with evolutionary science. Ultimately, little changed in post-Independence Mexican social relations: the poor, the indio, the mestizo continued to be excluded from participation in mainstream society, not because they were legally segregated as in the colonial period but because of their supposed criminality. Even Mexico's great social revolution generated few effective changes. Like their predecessors, revolutionary elites attempted to exploit the legitimizing potential of the criminal justice system but again without significantly redefining its basic clientele. The socially-marginal continued to pose a threat to public order and economic progress; thus they continued to be excluded from public life. Within this larger context, specific chapters also function as independent essays: chapter one examines the racist and classist subtexts embedded in post-Enlightenment, "classic" criminology; chapter two, the role of evolutionary science in legitimizing these subtexts; chapter three, the use of popular literary techniques in the construction of "scientific" criminology; chapter four, the place of prison reform in Mexican political discourse; and chapter five, the role of penal code reform in political legitimation.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectCrime -- Mexico.en_US
dc.subjectCriminology -- Mexico.en_US
dc.subjectPrisons -- Mexico -- History.en_US
dc.subjectCriminal justice, Administration of -- Mexico -- History.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHistoryen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairMeyer, Michaelen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGuy, Donnaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGosner, Kevinen_US
dc.identifier.proquest9506985en_US
dc.identifier.oclc705080895en_US
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