Re-mapping the nation: Road building as state formation in post-Revolutionary Mexico, 1925-1940
AuthorWaters, Wendy C.
KeywordsHistory, Latin American.
Political Science, Public Administration.
Sociology, Social Structure and Development.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThrough determined efforts, Mexicans in government and in communities created a national road network between 1925 and 1940, constructing approximately 10,000 kilometers of roads. This dissertation examines the processes of road-building and its effect on state formation and everyday life from national, regional, and local perspectives. Increasingly over time, national reconstruction and its road component included greater centralization of the nation's economy, polity, and culture in Mexico City. Looking at road construction in the states of Sonora and Veracruz shows how road building reflected and contributed to specific needs and rivalries within each region and between governors and the federal government. Roads viewed nationally belonged to federal government processes of centralization and demilitarization, and the larger spirit of economic and cultural nationalism. Mexicans built this network using Mexican financial resources and labor, and whenever possible, expertise. Mexicans often took enormous local and national pride in the country's roads as witnessed at opening celebrations. Moreover, lobbying for a road allowed communities and organizations to promote their region as a tourist destination, exclaiming with pride the cultural and national wonders for foreign and Mexican tourists to experience. Roads also brought unforeseen changes and consequences to many communities. Town leaders lost control of what ideas and consumer goods entered the village; in some cases, gender roles underwent transformations. Children's horizons of consciousness and aspirations for the future grew with the road, combined with educational expansion, which offered them new possibilities for the future such as professional careers and mobility. Local-level change and national state formation became linked by, and because of, programs such as road construction in post-Revolutionary Mexico.
Degree ProgramGraduate College