Political Power and Social Theory: Volume 14

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Table of contents

(17 chapters)

The present work consists of an inquiry into the range, contours, and contingencies of political and social activism among men of the “clases de color” in Western Cuba during the second U.S. occupation. As members of a highly mobilized population that had received its political education through a tradition of armed struggle, black and mulatto men participated in various forms of social, political and military protest in Pinar del Rio from 1906–1909, including race-based political organization and interracial protest movements. During this period, mainstream Cuban political parties and North American military administrators monitored the actions of the region's black population with acute interest, as they sought to contain, circumvent, and ultimately to repress black popular protest.

After experiencing decades of a tripartite colonial racial order that denied Africans political and civic rights, the newly independent nation of Tanganyika defined the rights and obligations of citizenship in terms of territory rather than race, rejecting rapid Africanization and exclusionary policies toward its minority Asian population. This rejection of racial nationality as a fundamental social category was an outcome of conflicts among nationalist elites over whether to use civic exclusion of the Asian minority to foster national unity among the black majority. Nationalist leaders imagined different communities of the nation. Some advocated inclusive citizenship and a nationalist vision based on color-blind policies while others appealed to popular racial animosities rooted in the inherited tripartite racial order and contended that race-blind policies would reinforce the dominance of an already privileged racial minority. Which of these visions triumphed and became institutionalized was a result of conflicts within and between nascent political parties. An event-centered analytical narrative of nation-building documents three causally linked sequences of events — the conflict within TANU over whether to participate in the racially-based election of 1958, the 1961 parliamentary controversy over whether to define citizenship in terms of race or residence, and the 1961–64 Africanization struggle over preferential treatment for black Africans. The outcomes of these conflicts produced the political forms in which national identities became institutionalized, including electoral rules, citizenship laws, and civil service recruitment policies. These outcomes were a result of the shifting balance of power within and between political parties. The analytic narrative pinpoints class, organizational, and international factors responsible for these shifts and identifies political party formation as a central determinant of the trajectory of nation building.

This article examines the mostly neglected anti-Chinese movement that, supported by Mexico's official post-revolutionary party, persecuted and finally expelled a large majority of Mexico's Chinese community. The article analyzes the trajectory of this racial movement from its origins as a social and political movement to its incorporation within the new orthodoxy of the post-revolutionary state. In particular, it examines the relevance of anti-Chinese racism and ideology for the resolution of the hegemonic struggle between the two dominant Sonoran caudillos Plutarco Elias Calles and Alvaro Obregón. Secondly, it considers the importance of anti-Chinese ideology and actions for the creation of consent in the “unstable equilibrium” that shaped Mexican politics between 1928 and 1934. Finally, this article examines the epistemological compatibility between anti-Chinese ideology, the “cultural revolution” of Mexico's post-revolutionary regimes, and the racial understandings and sentiments of the mestizaje theories informing Mexican revolutionary nationalism. The article suggests that a reconsideration of race offers a better theoretical understanding of Mexican state formation and the cultural processes through which social identities take form in interaction with the state, its institutions and discourses. The treatment of race as a political problem also contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms and processes that transform diffuse racial sentiments, perceptions and expectations into militant and politically organized racial movements.

This essay is a historical case study of southern Chilean rural society and its transformation across the twentieth century. It moves beyond questions of unionization and political parties in the agrarian sector to debates about land, subsistence and exploitation to show how notions of “moral economy” in rural politics were formed and transformed in ongoing dialogue with the policies and discourses of the Chilean welfare state. Using judicial records, newspapers, government documents and interviews with almost all the major protagonists, it explores the contradictory effects of both class and ethnic strategies of agrarian restitution, tracing three generations of mobilization in a Mapuche community. Through local evidence, it demonstrates how the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990) reorganized and dusted off a state discourse on market-based, efficient agrarian exploitation that had been central to all official explanations and justifications of agrarian reform offered between 1964 and 1973.

Apartheid South Africa is often assumed to have generated the conditions for its own demise. This case study of Alexandra township illustrates how this teleological assumption privileges structure over agency. A five-fold examination of space in rebellion — as a source of ruling class power, a form of hegemony, a target for counter-hegemonic challenge, an object of re-imagining, and a resource for popular mobilization — suggests that forms of resistance involve decisive human activity and choice. In spite of the actual and felt illegitimacy of the South African state, “normality” made spatial arrangements seem impenetrable at first. While these spaces provided multiple resources for collective action and social mobilization, full use could not be made until one section of the rebels — the youth — violently shattered the “veneer of normality” and reversed the meanings of everyday life. By treating space as a “target” during the “Six Day War”, the young rebels made possible the subsequent reshaping of consciousness. The youth, the adults who were their main competitors for establishing an alternative hegemony, and the intellectuals acting on their behalf were then able to envisage, intellectualize and even partially implement a new spatial order.

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Political Power and Social Theory
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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