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The Illusion of Civil Society

Democratization and Community Mobilization in Low-Income Mexico

Jon Shefner

Publication Year: 2008

Published by: Penn State University Press

Front Cover

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Copyright Page

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I’ve been exceptionally lucky. Over the years, I’ve met people I’ve admired and who have helped me grow as a person and scholar. I am deeply grateful to many members of the UCI for their time and friendship, but especially to Tito, Ana, Agustín, Carmen, and Hermano Javier. ...

List of Acronyms

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pp. xiii-xiv

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1. In the Streets with Mexico's Democracy Movement

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pp. 1-22

On a Sunday afternoon in May 1994, a flatbed truck and a van pulled up to the dusty corner of 8 de Julio and Santa Luz streets in the southern metropolitan area of Guadalajara called Cerro del Cuatro. A group of men—residents of Cerro del Cuatro who worked with a local political organization, ...

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2. From Global Economy to Local Politics

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pp. 23-52

Economic globalization has imposed a series of pressures across the world. Many of these pressures have shaken the foundations of national politics, leading some nations to greater authoritarianism and others—like Mexico—to greater democratization. Once national politics are changed, their local manifestations are likely ...

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3. Cerro del Cuatro and the Origins of the UCI

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pp. 53-78

How did trends of political economy and political change affect the lives of Mexican citizens on the urban periphery of Guadalajara? Economic changes in Guadalajara drove working-class families to search that periphery for affordable housing. Many came to live in Cerro del Cuatro, a zone without urban amenities ...

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4. Mobilizing for Basic Needs

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pp. 79-108

This chapter examines the UCI’s early years. The SEDOC’s unification of the UCI offers a clear example of how groups within civil society work together to effect social change. The unification demonstrated SEDOC’s popular education strategy, and how the organization targeted the improvement of urban services ...

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5. Electoral Strategy and the Diminution of Popular Support

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pp. 109-130

The UCI, under SEDOC’s influence, reoriented its priorities from urban-services needs to a concern for national democratization. The change became evident when the UCI ran candidates for political office in both the 1991 and 1992 elections. SEDOC’s intellectual and political interests and the opportunities created ...

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6. From Crisis to Survival

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pp. 131-160

SEDOC played an important role in uniting neighborhood groups on Cerro del Cuatro. With its substantial support, the UCI became a force to be reckoned with. SEDOC and the UCI demonstrated both their ability to work together and the force they wielded to make demands on an unresponsive government. ...

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7. Democratization and Changing Politics

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pp. 161-191

I left Guadalajara in early 1995, with the UCI having weathered one of the most difficult years of its existence. The organization had begun 1994 fearing the information that Ester might share with Solidaridad about the inner workings of the UCI. Although those worries proved baseless, Ester’s departure hurt the leaders’ images. ...

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8. Democratization, Civil Society, and Class Conflict

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pp. 192-208

I returned to Guadalajara for a brief stay, en route to a new research project, in late June 2006. Visiting with Hermano Javier and Tito, it was apparent that their lives and Cerro del Cuatro had changed little. Both men thought the upcoming presidential election would bring the presidency of the leftist candidate ...

List of References

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pp. 209-218


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pp. 219-224

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780271053332
E-ISBN-10: 027105333x
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271033846
Print-ISBN-10: 0271033843

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 22 b/w photos, 5 tables
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 435675823
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Illusion of Civil Society

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Unión de Colonos Independientes (Guadalajara, Mexico).
  • Community organization -- Mexico -- Guadalajara.
  • Civil society -- Mexico -- Guadalajara.
  • Democratization -- Mexico -- Guadalajara.
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