Research Proposal: Mexico: Review of Culture, Religion, Politics

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MEXICO: REVIEW OF CULTURE, RELIGION, POLITICS, HEALTH AND SOCIAL JUSTICE INCLUDING EXAMINATION OF DEPENDENCY vs. MODERNIZAITON THEORY

DEPENDENCY THEORY vs. MODERNIZATION THEORY

The work of Giovanni E. Reyes (2001 entitled: "Four Main Theories of Development: Modernization, Dependency, World-Systems and Globalization" the 'modernization theory holds that "...societies are more productive, children are better educated, and the needy receive more welfare. Modern societies have the particular feature of social structural differentiation, that is to say a clear definition of functions and political roles from national institutions." (p.1) The argument is stated that while the functional capacity of modern society has been increased by structural differentiation" resulting are problems related to integration and coordination of new institutional activities.

Reyes states that there are three primary features of modern societies:

Differentiation of political structure;

(2) Secularization of political culture -with the ethos of equality-, which

(3) Enhances the capacity of a society's political system." (p.1)

The foundations of dependency theory are stated by Reyes to have emerged in the "...1950s from the research of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean -ECLAC-. One of the most representative authors was Raul Prebisch. The principal points of the Prebisch model are that in order to create conditions of development within a country, it is necessary:

(1) To control the monetary exchange rate, placing more governmental emphasis on fiscal rather than monetary policy;

(2) To promote a more effective governmental role in terms of national development;

(3) To create a platform of investments, giving a preferential role to national capitals;

(4) To allow the entrance of external capital following priorities already established in national plans for development;

(5) To promote a more effective internal demand in terms of domestic markets as a base to reinforce the industrialization process in Latin America;

(6) To generate a larger internal demand by increasing the wages and salaries of workers, which will in turn positively affect aggregate demand in internal markets;

(7) To develop a more effective coverage of social services from the government, especially to impoverished sectors in order to create conditions for those sectors to become more competitive; and (8) To develop national strategies according to the model of import substitution, protecting national production by establishing quotas and tariffs on external markets." (Reyes, 2001, p.1)

II. RELIGION AND POLITICS

The ancient religion in Mexico is that of 'Nahua' or religion of the Nahuatl (the first natives of Mexico." This is believed to be a mixture of several native tribes on the region" and is assumed to be derived from various religions of Mexico including those of the Toltecs, Zapotecs and Olmecs as well as other tribes which integrated into the Aztec religion. This worship involved several deities resembling those in Greece and Egypt which include paganistic human sacrifices and ritual cannibalism. This religion was not however primate but was equal in astrology knowledge as were the Assyrians and of mathematics as the Egyptians. The primary religion in Mexico in today's global and modern society is that of the Roman Catholic faith. A University of Minnesota report states of the religion of Mexico as follows:

"Roman Catholicism was established as the dominant religion of Mexico, and today, about 89% of Mexicans identify themselves with that division of Christianity. Evangelical denominations have grown in recent years, to about 6% of the population, after being introduced by missionaries and settlers from Europe and the United States in the 19th century. Other religions make up the remaining 5%, with the most notable growth among The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses." (2009, p.1)

Because the political ruling party in Mexico is Spanish in origin the primary religion in Mexico is naturally influenced by the Roman Catholic religion in the political arena.

In fact, the Mexicans were eager to accept the Roman Catholic religion and as related in the work of Nesvig (2007) the Mexican women "...without overtly challenging social norms of claiming equality with men, made themselves indispensable agents of Catholic social reform. The success of the Ladies of Charity demonstrates that despite the triumph of the anticlerical Reform" (which occurred in the late 1890s) that Catholicism is "...an important part of Mexican cultural life." (2007, p.70)

Nesvig additionally states that the "...regional concentration of the conferences, with their proportionate strength in Jalisco and Neighboring Michoacan mirrors the eventual geography of the National Catholic Party and the Cristero Revolt. The emergence of those movements is difficult to explain without understanding the vibrant Catholic community that lay activists -- male and, above all, female constructed after the Reforma." (p. 71)

III. DEMOCRACY AND DICTATORSHIP

The work of Dan A. Cothran (2007) entitled: "Political Stability and Democracy in Mexico; The Perfect Dictatorship?" states that Mexico is differentiated from other countries throughout the world by having been "ruled by one political party since the 1920s." (Abstract, p.1) Cothran conducts an examination of the experiential political stability in Mexico over the past seventy years and states the argument that Mexico's "unusual stability has been the result of the interaction of six factors" which he states to include those of: (1) the institutionalized nature of the political system; (2) the effectiveness of the regime in achieving rapid economic growth; (3) the adaptability of the regime to emerging pressures; (4) the cohesiveness of the political elites; (5) the judicious use of coercion; and (6) Mexico's proximity to the United States.(Abstract, p.1) Cothran notes that Mexico has been coping with challenges since the 1990s due to changes in the political, social as well as economic environment in Mexico.

IV. ETHINIC-CULTURAL DIVISIONS

The individuals who live in Mexico are culturally subdivided and this can be divided by northern, central, south and south-eastern Mexico divisions. The north is sparsely populated by small indigenous populations with the central and western region being the highly developed Indian cultures and colonial urban and industrial areas. The southern region of Mexico has a strong indigenous heritage however is much poorer than other regions of Mexico. There is a cultural division existing between the altiplano and the sierras and coastal plains which is a division paralleling the indigenous population presence with the most indigenous region being that of the sierra regions. Mexico has as a nation been characteristic of identities of culture and province that are quite strong. Nationalism is full of vitality in Mexico while the culture is simultaneously quite diverse.

V. WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT

As already noted in this report and specifically in section II relating to religion and politics the women of Mexico are very active in religious reform and therefore are to some degree in possession of power over their own destiny and their country's destiny derived from the influence they weld in the Roman Catholic faith activities and membership. The women of Mexico do not specifically exert this authority in the society or even in the hierarchy of their homes or families however, nonetheless, these women do possess some measure of power and the ability to press for changes and bring those changes about through their religious commitment and activities.

VI. GLOBALIZATION (WINNERS AND LOSES) THE APPLICATION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

There is stated to have been a neoliberal mindset in Mexico and it is held that in the current "...economic climate, competitiveness and reduction of costs are very important for the production process. Unfortunately these goals have brought difficulties such as unemployment, low salaries, unjust wealth distribution, and an environmental disequilibrium not counter balanced by law enforcement." (Uribe, 2001) Social justice in Mexico is very unequally distributed.

Stated in the work of Uribe (2001) entitled: "Effects that Neoliberalism and Globalization Have Brought to Mexico's Sustainable Development" is that "...as concerns these principles, for some years, the Roman Catholic Church has been concerned about the consolidated global economy and the continuous growth of social mobility and of the gaps between social classes. Some papal documents point out that economic development must accompany social progress, and that in any event if "there are economic successes and benefits, ail the society must share and enjoy them. Pope John XXIII, in his remarkable encyclical Mater et Magistra suggests that if humanity is to achieve economic growth and success, it should not behave indifferently towards the principles of respect for the environment, equality, justice and charity. ISI proved to be an unsuitable development model for Mexico, because its inefficient, negative economic results based on interventionist and corrupt administrations brought more poverty to marginalized rural sectors, ethnic groups, and low-income urban groups. At this time, social resources ended up benefiting mostly public sector workers and the working and well prepared middle class. This unjust distribution of resources and the lack of a serious planning aggravated economic disparities." (p. 10)

VII. REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE/SOLDIERS AND POLITICS

If applicable, this section should contain a discussion of revolutionary change and soldiers and politics with regard to your country and follow to some extent the issues in Chapter 8 and 9 of Handelman.

VIII. SOCIAL ILLS, SOCIAL PROBLEMS, AND HEALTH-RELATED ISSUES

The work of Rodriguez (1998)… [END OF PREVIEW]

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