Between Liturgy and Performance: A Dispute over the Symbolic Space in Mexico.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Javier ARZUAGA MAGNONI, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico, Mexico
Nelson ARTEAGA, FLACSO, Mexico, Mexico, Sociology, FLACSO, México D.F., Mexico

The Mexican Federal Government’s Education reform in 2013 mobilized resistance from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), who for several months took over one of the most iconic political spaces in Mexico: the city’s center square called the Zocalo. The dispute over this space became more intense because the Zocalo is a key part of the independence celebration, which for over 100 years has represented the call to arms against the Spaniards. The paper analyzes the dispute over the use of this space by the federal government to conduct the ceremony and the CENT’s resistance to vacate it. The dispute for the Zocalo faced different motives rights and political visions, and a dispute between the supremacy of society or the State in the use of national spaces and symbols. The conflict essentially marked the contrast between two forms of manifestation and expression, and the competition surrounding the recognition of the authenticity and credibility of the representations involved. The performative capacity of a group of civil society intended to compete with the liturgical ability of the Mexican state with the result of this conflict being resolved in favor of the latter. However, the aftermath of the dispute over authenticity in the use of the Zocalo marked the subsequent conflict, in which the state liturgy can be seen to function as a performative mechanism that undermines the performative ability generated from social movements in Mexico. This makes it necessary  to consider how far civil and political spheres move within the context of authoritarian regimes with weak democratic institutions as is the case of Mexico and other Latin American regimes.