CITIZENS, SOCIETY, AND
THE STATE
CITIZENS, SOCIETY, AND THE
STATE: BACKGROUND
• Mexican citizens have interacted with their
government through an informal patron-client
relationship
• Government has upper hand in determining
which interests to respond to and which
interests to ignore
• Recently, political parties have become more
competitive and democratic
Cleavages
Cleavages of Mexico are often
crosscutting, but have recently coincided
as the north and south have been at odds.
 Cleavages with the most direct impact on
political system are:

◦
◦
◦
◦
Social class
Urban v. rural
Mestizo v. Amerindian
North v. South
RURAL: EARLY 20th Century

PRI and the patron-client
system controlled largely
illiterate peasants in
exchange for support
URBAN: PRESENT DAY
Today’s Mexico is more
than 75% urban
 Literacy rate is about 90%
 Voters are less inclined to
support the PRI
 Often receptive to political
and economic reform

Urban v. Rural
Urban v. Rural Cleavage
MESTIZO


A blend of European and
Amerindian descent
Possess most of Mexico’s
wealth
AMERINDIAN


More likely to live in
poverty in marginalized
rural areas
As many as 30% of
Mexicans consider
themselves Amerindian
MESTIZO V. AMERINDIAN
NORTH
Very dry and mountainous
 Population is more
prosperous
 Substantial middle class
with relatively high levels of
education
 Generally more supportive
of a market-based economy

SOUTH






Largely subtropical
Generally less influenced by
urban areas and the U.S.
Larger amount of population
is Amerindian
Lower average income than in
the North
Less educational
opportunities and skilled
labor
Distrustful of central
government
NORTH V. SOUTH
SOCIAL CLASS
Gini coefficient was .48 in 2009 (economic inequality
is high)
 In 2002:

◦ The poorest 10% of the population earned about 1.6% of
Mexico’s income
◦ The wealthiest 10% earned 35.6% of Mexico's income
◦ This economic divide translates into higher infant
mortality rates, lower levels of education, and shorter life
expectancies among the poor

Mexico’s middle class has been growing due to the
“informal economy” and from new industries and
service businesses
Political
Participation in
Mexico
History of Political Participation



Mexico’s culture of political participation has
been characterized by revolution and
protest since the Revolution of 1910-1911
However, most Mexicans have been subject
to authoritarian rule by an elite class,
especially under the PRI (Partido
Revolucionario Institucional)
The PRI dominated Mexican politics for
most of the 20th century (beginning in 1929)
History of Political Participation

Revolution and Protest:
◦ Revolution of 1910-1911
◦ Caudillos (Warlords): Formation of PRI under
President Calles in 1929
◦ 1968 Student Protest in Tlatelolco Plaza
◦ 1994 Zapatista Uprising
◦ 2006 Oaxaca Protest
History of Political Participation
Left: a 1968 student propaganda
poster
Above: Subcomandante Marcos,
leader of the Zapatista Rebellion
The Patron-Client System
Political system emphasizes compromise
among elites
 Behind-the-scenes conflict resolution
encouraged
 Distribution of rewards to contacts and
supporters
 Rooted in the PRI’s camarilla system,
which granted peasants and supporters
job and security benefits in exchange for
votes

The Patron-Client System
Still a determining factor in political
participation today, especially in regional
elections
 2006 Presidential Election: losing
candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
accused the PAN party of election fraud
based in the camarilla system

Voter Behavior
Before the 1990s, the PRI controlled
elections on the local, state, and national
levels
 However, competing parties have existed
since the 1930s
 Voter turnout was high in the 1994 (78%
turnout), but has since declined (60%
turnout in 2006)

Voter Behavior

Some factors that influenced voter
behavior in the election of 2006 were:
◦ Region (North v. South)
◦ Education (university education v.
uneducated poor)
◦ Income
Civil Society in Mexico
Linkage Institutions-Political Parties

PAN
◦ Party to the right of PRI
◦ PRI’s oldest opposition party
◦ Advocates less government intervention
◦ Appeals to middle class, northerners, and the educated.


PRI
◦ Ruled as a one party system
◦ Corporatist structure
◦ Patron-client system
◦ Appeals to rural people, and residents of southern Mexico
PRD
◦ Party left of the PRI
◦ Appeals to the young, populists, and some intellectuals
Media




The media had little power to criticize or to
influence opinion because of the PRI
Media became more independent in the
1980s as he PRI began to lose is hold
Today there are many more international
news sources such as CNN and BBC
Mexicans now have access to a much
broader range of political opinions
Interest Groups





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The Mexican government responds to demands of interest
groups through accommodation and co-optation
Because private organizations have been linked to the
government for so long, development of Mexico's civil
society has been slow
In rural areas, peasant organizations are encouraged through
he ejido system which grants land to these organizations
from the government
Since 1980 these groups have demanded greater
independence from the government
In recent years they have come together to promote better
education, health services, and environmental protections
As these groups have strengthened, the political system has
had to negotiate with them, transforming civil society
Women’s Role in Mexico
In the early 20th century, women had few
political rights
 1922: region of Yucatan gives women
political rights to vote in local and
regional elections
 1947: Women allowed to run for office at
municipal levels
 1953: Full women’s suffrage granted to all
provinces

Women’s Role in Mexico




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Women have traditionally been responsible for
household maintenance and child rearing
Women were important in the Mexican
revolutions of the early 1900s
Lost much of their political influence under
President Porfirio Diaz
Women and children have been traditional targets
of human trafficking since the early 20th century
Women played a significant role in the Mexican
Student Movement of 1968, protesting for income
and opportunity equality
Women’s Role in Mexico
Today, women are an important force in
Mexican politics: parties are bound by law
to run at least 30% women for the
proportional representation elections
 However, no major party has yet fielded a
female presidential candidate, although
the minor party Social Democrats and
Farmers ran Patricia Mercado in 2006

MARIA ANTONIETA PEREZ
REYES
A representative of the province of Juarez in the
Mexican Congress.
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Political Participation in Mexico