Pens and swords, words and blows: for Roger Bartra, the culture of ink and the culture of blood offer two contrasting approaches to the political transformations of our time. In this compilation of essays, Bartra thinks through these transformations by tracing the complex interplay between popular culture, nationalist ideology, civil society, and the state in contemporary Mexico. Written with verve over a period of twenty years, these essays-most translated into English here for the first time-suggest why Bartra has become one of Latin America's leading public intellectuals. The essays cover a broad range of topics, from the canonical forms of Mexican culture to the meaning of postnational identity in a globalizing age, from the repercussions of the 1994 Zapatista uprising to the 2000 election of Vicente Fox and the end of the PRI's seven-decade rule. Across this range of topics, Bartra imparts astute insights into a critical period of transition in Mexican history, stressing throughout the importance of democracy, the complexity of identity, and the vibrancy of the Left. In Blood, Ink, and Culture, he provides a stimulating inside look at political and intellectual life in the southern reaches of North America.
Roger Bartra is Senior Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. An anthropologist, sociologist, and respected public intellectual, he has served as editor of the Mexican literary weekly La Jornada Semanal and is a regular contributor to literary and political journals in Mexico, Spain, Japan, England, and the United States. He is also the author of numerous books in Spanish; those available in English include Wild Men in the Looking Glass: The Mythic Origins of European Otherness and The Cage of Melancholy: Identity and Metamorphosis in the Mexican Character. Mark Alan Healey is Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at the University of Mississippi.
Preface I. Blood and Ink The Mexican Office: Miseries and Splendors of Culture Tropical Kitsch in Blood and Ink The Bridge, the Border, and the Cage: Cultural Crisis and Identity in the Post-Mexican Condition Method in a Cage: How to Escape from the Hermeneutic Circle? II. The Post-Mexican Condition The Malinche's Revenge: Toward a Postnational Identity Missing Democracy The Political Crisis of 1982 Journey to the Center of the Right The Crisis of Nationalism From the Charismatic Phallus to the Phallocratic Office III. Miseries and Splendors of the Left Our Own Nineteen Eighty-Four Between Disenchantment and Utopia Nationalism, Democracy, and Socialism Is the Left Necessary? Lombardo or Revueltas? Marxism on the Gallows? Great Changes, Modest Proposals Postscript: The Dictatorship Was Not Perfect Glossary Bibliography Index