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Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico
bookposted on 18.03.2015, 17:20 by Deborah F. Toner
This lively and engaging interdisciplinary study explores socio-cultural nation-building processes in Mexico between 1810 and 1910, through an analysis of issues surrounding the consumption of alcohol in a diverse range of source materials, including novels, newspapers, medical texts, and archival records. Examining the historical importance of drinking, as both an important feature of Mexican social life and a persistent source of concern for Mexican intellectuals and politicians, offers important insights into how the nation was discursively constructed and deconstructed in the nineteenth century. As well as condemning the physically and morally debilitating aspects of excessive alcohol consumption, and worrying that particularly Mexican drinks and drinking places were preventing Mexico’s progress as a nation, some Mexican intellectuals identified more culturally valuable aspects of Mexican drinking cultures that ought to be celebrated as part of an “authentic” Mexican national culture. The intertwined literary and historical analysis illustrates how wide-ranging the connections were between ideas about drinking, poverty, crime, insanity, citizenship, patriotism, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity in the nineteenth century, and the book makes timely and important contributions to the fields of Latin American literature, alcohol studies, and the social and cultural history of nation-building.