Political discourse and neoliberal reform in Mexico 1988-1994
This thesis examines the impact of economic liberalism on the dominant source of legitimation in Mexico - nationalism - during the presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-94). It asks whether national ideology remained of value as a legitimising force given the ways in which neoliberalism challenged its social rationale and looks at the search for a new basis of consensus. The thesis argues that salinismo continued to find nationalism valuable to maintaining consensus by providing a formula which could mediate rival individual and social claims. It analyses nationalism through the content attributed to the individual and the social in political discourse of the period. Chapter 1 argues that a relationship has existed between political economy and national ideology since Mexico's independence. This has been determined by elites seeking to establish a state sufficiently stable to enable economic development. In the 20th century, conceptions of nationality provided criteria for "nation-building", the creation of an integrated citizenry free of divisions which threatened stability. Chapter 2 argues that Salinas continued to find nationalism of legitimising value to his own state reforms, but adapted it to neoliberal priorities. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on how Salinas dealt in two instances - landholding and free trade - with conflicts generated by rival conceptions within nationalism and neoliberalism of the individual and sovereignty. Chapter 5 examines how intellectuals reassessed nationalist ideology, and how the new models of community they imagined reflected the search for a legitimising formula functional to the new political economy. Chapters 6 and 7 argue that opposition parties on Left and Right also sought such a formula and assessedth e need to mediate individual and social claims. The thesis contributes to an understanding of the role nationalism has played in Mexico's capitalist development, shedding light upon its fate within accelerated modernisation.