Hegemonic State Crisis and Social Protest in Contemporary Mexico
Ortega Bayona, Berenice
Sociology University of Essex Colchester, United Kingdom
In recent years, across borders we have witnessed a growing tendency towards a rejection of traditional forms of political organization and the emergence of "new" forms of social protest. My research will focus on a specific social and political experience that reflects many aspects of the breakdown of legitimacy that Mexico is increasingly suffering today: the events that led to the formation of APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) in June 2006, the different political forms of protest and resistance that evolved for over 6 months there, the governmental response and repression to the conflict, and the transformations in the forms of political and social organisation that have occurred since then in Oaxaca. Because of how diverse and complex the popular sectors that participated in this conflict were (some historical while others new), I believe that it is a crucial example through which we can understand the historicity and extent of the structural and institutional legitimacy crisis at the national level, as well as contrast and analyse the convergence of traditional and "new" forms of political protest. An oral and brief life history approach was taken to reconstruct how the political, economic and social relationships were shaped in the Mexican post-revolutionary state, as well as how previous experiences of social and political organisation continue to have an influence in political culture today; to evaluate how neoliberal political and economic reforms have impacted their lives and ignited other forms of political organisation; and to explore the role that the APPO experience played in transforming their outlook on social protest, the construction of democracy and a disputed hegemony in Oaxaca and Mexico today.