The Zapatistas and their world : the pueblos of Morelos in postrevolutionary Mexico, 1920-1940

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2014-12-09

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Salinas, Salvador, 1981-

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Studies on the state of Morelos and its role in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) have tended to focus on the origins of the conflict or the fighting itself rather than the outcomes of the insurgency led by Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919). This dissertation, instead, analyzes the aftermath of the revolution in Morelos by providing a new political and environmental history of the state in the 1920s and 1930s. It argues that previous conceptualizations of the region’s villages as being motivated by either moral or economic factors are by themselves insufficient to explain the diversity of pueblos, or rural communities, in Morelos. Rather, this study uses Mexico’s historically-rooted, liberal concept of village sovereignty to integrate moral, economic, and cultural interpretations of village behaviors in post-revolutionary Morelos. The idea of what it meant to be a sovereign village, however, evolved in the 1920s and 1930s to include new political and institutional ties to centralized government in Mexico City. Rural engagement with the post-revolutionary state in fact strengthened local control over elections, natural resources, and primary schools vis-à-vis old elites now in retreat during this period. Villagers, meanwhile, constantly dialogued with national authorities over the aims of federal state-building policies and negotiated the terms of the region’s loyalty to Mexico City.

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