Blood, Ink, and Culture

Miseries and Splendors of the Post-Mexican Condition

Blood, Ink, and Culture

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: Published: July 2002

Author: Roger Bartra

Translator: Mark A. Healey

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies > Mexico, Politics

Pens and swords, words and blows: for Roger Bartra, the culture of ink and the culture of blood offer two contrasting approaches to the political transformations of our time. In this compilation of essays, Bartra thinks through these transformations by tracing the complex interplay between popular culture, nationalist ideology, civil society, and the state in contemporary Mexico.

Written with verve over a period of twenty years, these essays—most translated into English here for the first time—suggest why Bartra has become one of Latin America’s leading public intellectuals. The essays cover a broad range of topics, from the canonical forms of Mexican culture to the meaning of postnational identity in a globalizing age, from the repercussions of the 1994 Zapatista uprising to the 2000 election of Vicente Fox and the end of the PRI’s seven-decade rule. Across this range of topics, Bartra imparts astute insights into a critical period of transition in Mexican history, stressing throughout the importance of democracy, the complexity of identity, and the vibrancy of the Left. In Blood, Ink, and Culture, he provides a stimulating inside look at political and intellectual life in the southern reaches of North America.


“Roger Bartra always offers unparalleled insight into Mexico’s current political life; he is perhaps the most important political and social analyst working in Latin America today. . . . The essays come to us through the superb translation of Mark Alan Healey. He provides his own footnotes to help explain some references, and he has added an excellent bibliography and index. These tools will help scholars, students, and the general public read these essays for years to come.” — Patrick J. McNamara, New Mexico Historical Review

"Roger Barta is considered one of Latin America's foremost cultural critics. Blood, Ink, and Culture . . . offers incisive and iconoclastic analysis of Mexico's troubled transition to democracy after more than seventy years of single party rule. . . . Barta's style is appropriately playful and ironic." — Adrian A. Bantjes , History

“I can think of no other Mexican thinker who has so consistently crossed disciplinary and national boundaries nor so effectively integrated intellectual and political milieus, laying bare the contradictions of the postrevolutionary state and the Mexican Left in the process. Blood, Ink, and Culture pulls no punches. It should be read by anyone seeking to understand Mexico's postnational condition in the new millennium.” — Gilbert M. Joseph, editor of Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History

“Roger Bartra is one of Latin America’s premier cultural critics. With this intriguing, provocative, and insightful volume, an English-language audience will have the pleasure of reading some of his best and most challenging commentary.” — Irene Silverblatt, author of Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Roger Bartra is Senior Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. An anthropologist, sociologist, and respected public intellectual, he has served as editor of the Mexican literary weekly La Jornada Semanal and is a regular contributor to literary and political journals in Mexico, Spain, Japan, England, and the United States. He is also the author of numerous books in Spanish; those available in English include Wild Men in the Looking Glass: The Mythic Origins of European Otherness and The Cage of Melancholy: Identity and Metamorphosis in the Mexican Character.

Mark Alan Healey is Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Table of Contents Back to Top

I. Blood and Ink

The Mexican Office: Miseries and Splendors of Culture

Tropical Kitsch in Blood and Ink

The Bridge, the Border, and the Cage: Cultural Crisis and Identity in the Post-Mexican Condition

Method in a Cage: How to Escape from the Hermeneutic Circle?

II. The Post-Mexican Condition

The Malinche’s Revenge: Toward a Postnational Identity

Missing Democracy

The Political Crisis of 1982

Journey to the Center of the Right

The Crisis of Nationalism

From the Charismatic Phallus to the Phallocratic Office

III. Miseries and Splendors of the Left

Our Own Nineteen Eighty-Four

Between Disenchantment and Utopia

Nationalism, Democracy, and Socialism

Is the Left Necessary?

Lombardo or Revueltas?

Marxism on the Gallows?

Great Changes, Modest Proposals

Postscript: The Dictatorship Was Not Perfect



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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2923-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2908-4
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