Songs, memories and identities : the bolero and sentimental education in contemporary Mexico
The confluence of singers, composers and audiences within contemporary Mexican culture, produces a "bolero effect" in which the bolero tradition of the popular love song is established as a complex network of relationships between actors and spaces. The relationships between public discourses about romance, courtship and self identities, is produced and secured by the deployment of a variety of codes and languages that together constitute love as a shared memory. Collective and personal memory are strongly related. The process of interpreting and responding to the bolero is rooted· not only in individual biography but also in the life of the community to which a person belongs, and which provides him/her with frames of reference within which to organise memory, a kind of mental map drawn up by language. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the complex and contradictory interplay between the public presentation and proliferation of the bolero, and the intimate, unique, experience of love. The first part of the thesis explores the public culture of the bolero as it travels along trajectories linking live performance to radio, cinema, records and television. The second part explores the experiences and responses of male and female subjects from two contrasting class locations in contemporary Mexico City.