By J. Chalcraft, Y. Noorani
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Extra resources for Counterhegemony in the Colony and Postcolony
Violence declined; after 1952, presidential elections were anodyne; and the economy grew steadily. 68 What had happened, as my ‘hegemonic maps’ seek to show, is that the profound battles of the revolutionary period, pitting rival hegemonic projects against each other, had yielded to a more prosaic form of controlled machine politics, which served the interests of the well-to-do (both inside and outside the PRI), while deflating popular expectations and curtailing popular empowerment. 69 If the middle ground of ‘thin hegemony’ afforded the foundation for PRIísta rule, it is not surprising that, with the seismic shifts of the 1980s and ’90s (the debt crisis; chronic inflation; three serious recessions; the 1987–8 schism in the party itself), the ground began to shift and (thin) hegemony finally crumbled.
See Dipesh Chakarbarty’s extensive criticism of what he calls ‘historicism’, in Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), pp. 6–16. Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. For an excellent discussion, see William Sewell, ‘Towards a Post-materialist Rhetoric for Labor History’, in Rethinking Labor History: Essays on Discourse and Class Analysis, edited by Lenard R. Bernstein (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993).
First, the relative success of the revolutionary hegemonic project derived from its incorporation of popular demands and interests. Historians of Mexico have argued at length whether the revolutionary state was a ‘top-down’ imposition on a resentful people, or a genuinely popular regime, dedicated to national well-being and reflecting mass involvement (which was the heroic self-image of the official party). The predictable answer is that it was both, and, again, that the balance varied from time to time and from place to place.