Heriberto Yépez

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Culture and Control: From The Perfect Dictatorship To The 4T

Opinión: Heriberto Yépez
May 30, 2020

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  1. Trans. note: “Cuarta transformación” [Fourth Transformation] is the name of the political project of the Morena party that guides the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) who took office on December 1, 2018.

  2. Author’s note: By high-culture I mean the culture produced, transmitted and consumed by minorities, from the Humanities and the visual arts to the academic world and cult audiovisual productions. I use the expression high culture both in its sense of quantitative difference (minority culture versus mass culture) and in its sense of hierarchy (“high” culture versus “popular” culture). In both ways, however, note the distance and separation that builds the so-called high culture, which at the same time privileges and punishes it, idealizes and ridicules it, protects and exposes it, museifies and stigmatizes it.

  3. Trans. note: Conaculta (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes for its acronym in Spanish [National Council for Arts and Culture]) was a decentralized administrative body of the Ministry of Public Education created on December 8, 1988. Its objective was the promotion, support and sponsorship of events that promote art and culture on a national level as a way of entering into the neoliberal global logics of the times in line with the Free Trade Agreement, for example.

  4. Trans. note: This episode in Mexican history is popularly known as the “fall of the system” in which the presidential candidate of the then hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Carlos Salinas de Gortari, imposed himself on the leftist Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, of the National Democratic Front (PRD), after registering technical problems in the vote count system.

  5. Trans. note: Morenista is the demonym used to identify the ideology of the Morena party which was founded by the current president.

  6. Trans. note: this is a word game based on the Spanish word “dictadura” (dictatorship) which suffix “-dura” (hard) in relation to the suffix “-blanda” (soft) is a connotation of the different degrees of use of state force for control and surveillance purposes present in the political culture of the Mexican governments.

  7. Trans. note: Vicente Fox was president during the period December 1, 2000 to November 30, 2006 with the PAN party.

  8. Trans. note: Comentocrácia is a popular word in political debates in Mexico to define the journalistic elite that has served power for the last two decades and that has maintained the monopoly of large audiences by controlling the most important spaces on TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines.


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