Distinction Practices and Socialization Of “Native” and “Foreign” Elites In Mexico

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Eike HEINZE , Université de Strasbourg, France
The paper summarizes the results of an empirical research project on "native" and "foreign" elites in Mexico in a comparative perspective. The focus is set on the elites' different attitudes, socialization and distinction practices (in particular “completeness” versus “synecdochism” ). Furthermore, the relations and interactions between „native“ Mexican elites and „foreign“ expatriate elites in Mexico are taken into account.

Similar to other 'emerging market' countries, Mexico has gone through profound changes in the last 30 years. Some Mexican enterprises have become large multinational enterprises operating on several continents and some Mexican business men are now among the wealthiest in the world with Carlos Slim Helú being the richest business man in the world.

Simultaneously, during the economic liberalization process which culminated in the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, many foreign multinational enterprises have set up major operations in Mexico, resulting in ca. half of the 500 largest enterprises active in Mexico being foreign – bringing to Mexico their own foreign top-managers (expatriates), cultures and distinction practices. The question how the different attitudes and distinction practices of foreign and native elites in Mexico co-exist, interact and whether they mix, will be addressed.

It will be argued that it depends to a significant degree on the home culture, socialization and nationalities of the foreign expatriate elites whether they blend into the Mexican elite milieus. Concerning the distinction practices, it will be argued that the Mexican upper class leans heavily towards synecdochism.