Mexican National Identity
Memory, Innuendo, and Popular Culture
In the century that followed Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821, Beezley maintains, sentiments of nationality were promulgated by people who were concerned not with the promotion of nationalism but with something far more immediate—the need to earn a living. These peddlers, vendors, actors, artisans, writers, publishers, and puppeteers sought widespread popular appeal so that they could earn money. According to Beezley, they constantly refined their performances, as well as the symbols and images they employed, in order to secure larger revenues.
Gradually they discovered the stories, acts, and products that attracted the largest numbers of paying customers. As Beezley convincingly asserts, out of “what sold to the masses” a collective national identity slowly emerged. Mexican National Identity makes an important contribution to the growing body of literature that explores the influences of popular culture on issues of national identity. By looking at identity as it was fashioned “in the streets,” it opens new avenues for exploring identity formation more generally, not just in Mexico and Latin American countries but in every nation.
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"Beezley's approach is unique, even daring. Mexican National Identity is organized, well written, deeply researched, and coherent. It offers a mature analysis of Mexican popular culture and will stand as a benchmark for scholars working in the field for years to come."—Andrew Grant Wood, editor of On the Border: Society and Culture between the United States and Mexico