winner of the 2021 Ellen Koskoff Edited Volume Prize
Decentering the Nation: Music, Mexicanidad, and Globalization considers how neoliberal capitalism has upset the symbolic economy of “Mexican” cultural discourse, and how this phenomenon touches on a broader crisis of representation affecting the nation-state in globalization. This book argues that, while mexicanidad emerged in the early twentieth century as a cultural trope about national origins, culture, and history, it was, nonetheless a trope steeped in ‘otherization’ and used by nation-states (Mexico and the United States) to legitimize narratives of cultural and socioeconomic development stemming out of nationalist political projects that are now under strain. Using music as a phenomenological platform of inquiry, contributors to this book focus on a critique of mexicanidad in terms of the cultural processes through which people contest ideas about race, gender, and sexuality; reframe ideas of memory, history, and belonging; and negotiate the experiences of dislocation that affect them. The volume urges readers to find points of resonance in its chapters, and thus, interrogate the asymmetrical ways in which power traverses their own historical experience. In light of the crisis in representation that currently affects the nation-state as a political unit in globalization, such resonance is critical to make culture an arena of social collusion, where alliances can restore the fiber of civil society and contest the pressures that have made disenfranchisement one of the most alarming features characterizing the complex relationships between the state and the neoliberal corporate system that seeks to regulate it. Scholars of history, international relations, cultural anthropology, Latin American studies, queer and gender studies, music, and cultural studies will find this book particularly useful.
This unique collective work explores the dialectic between national self-assertion and its subversion, through a remarkable range of situated musical practices. Its authors are committed both to ethnographic and theoretical engagement, even as they invite readers to familiarize themselves with the rich and varied soundscapes that are reshaping the very idea of “Mexican identity" today.