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Becoming Campesinos: Politics, Identity, and Agrarian Struggle in Postrevolutionary Michoacan, 1920-1935by Christopher R. Boyer
Synopses & Reviews
Becoming Campesinos argues that the formation of the campesino as both a political category and a cultural identity in Mexico was one of the most enduring legacies of the great revolutionary upheavals that began in 1910. Challenging the assumption that rural peoples “naturally” share a sense of cultural solidarity and political consciousness because of their subordinate social status, the author maintains that the particular understanding of popular-class unity conveyed by the term campesino originated in the interaction of post-revolutionary ideologies and agrarian militancy during the 1920s and 1930s.
The book uses oral histories, archival documents, and partisan newspapers to trace the history of one movement born of this dynamic—agrarismo in the state of Michoacán. The author argues that the interaction of grassroots militancy and political mobilization from the top meant that the rural populace entered the political sphere, not as indigenous people or rural proletarians, but as a class-like social category of campesinos.
Book News Annotation:
Campesino identity in 20th-century Mexico, argues Boyer (history and Latin American and Latino studies, U. of Illinois-Chicago), is the outgrowth of popular militancy as interpreted through localized versions of post-revolutionary ideology. He says the process began when rural people mobilized to request land made available by the land reform after the revolution. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
“...a well-written and compelling study...”—American Historical Review
“...a wonderful and compelling account of the politics of agrarismo in Michoacan.”—The Americas
Includes bibliographical references (p. 289-309) and index.
About the Author
Christopher R. Boyer is Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Table of Contents
Becoming campesinos — Land, community, and memory in postrevolutionary Michoacâan — Francisco Mâugica and the making of agrarian struggle in Michoacâan, 1920-1922 — Village revolutionaries — Refusing the revolution — Lâazaro Câardenas and the advent of a campesino politics — The politics of campesino identity in Twentieth-Century Mexico — Land reform in Michoacâan, 1917-1940.
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