Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico
Traditionally, scholars have seen Indigenismo as an elitist formulation of the "Indian problem." Dawson instead explores the ways that the movement was mediated by both elite and popular pressures over time. By showing how Indigenismo was used by a variety of actors to negotiate the shape of the revolutionary state—from anthropologist Manual Gamio to President Lázaro Cárdenas—he demonstrates how it contributed to a new "pact of domination" between indigenous peoples and the government.
Although the power of the Indigenistas was limited by the face that "Indian" remained a racial slur in Mexico, the indígenas capacitados empowered through Indigenismo played a central role in ensuring seventy years of PRI hegemony. In studying the confluence of state formation, social science, and native activism, Dawson's book offers a new perspective for understanding the processes through which revolutionary hegemony emerged.