Within the rapidly expanding historiography on the "invented traditions," "imagined communities," and "hegemonic" state- and nation-building projects of modern polities, a growing number of scholars have looked at public celebratory life in Mexico from the colonial period to the present. The public panoply of patriotic and religious ritual has been richly reconstructed empirically, and analyzed as state pedagogy, an appropriated festal vehicle for popular protest, a juggernaut of social and political control, deep cultural text, and so forth. Both co-editors of the anthology under review have made significant contributions to this virtual sub-genre in recent years, David Lorey with an ongoing project on secular political holidays in the twentieth century, William Beezley with similar work of his own on the nineteenth century and as co-editor of an earlier, foundational collection of essays on cognate themes, Rituals of Rule, Rituals of Resistance: Public Celebrations and Popular Culture in Mexico (1994). Beezley and Lorey have produced a fascinating volume here on public observances of Mexico's Independence day, 16 September, since the years immediately following the Mexican colony's separation from Spain in 1821. The essays are for the most part empirically rich, evocative of the eras they portray, and of more than sufficient sophisticated conceptualization to speak to ongoing debates in political and cultural history about the function of public rituals not only as instruments of elite hegemonic projects, and as venues for struggle over public memory and national identity, but also as opportunities for the expression of more exuberant popular ideas and forms of subaltern resistance.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: Ori Preuss; Nahuel Ribke
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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