The Tyranny of Opinion


The Tyranny of Opinion: Honour in the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere
Pablo Piccato
2010, Duke University Press
389 pages

WHEN Mexicans began the slow, tortuous evolution from the predictabilities of civil war and military defence uner a caste of caudillos in the turbulent 19th century to the much more difficult process of statebuilding and liberal politics, there began a search for a new currency that would legitimize the new poliical elite’s claim to embody the virtues of the nation: honour. Pablo Piccato’s excellent study of honour in the contruction of the Mexican public sphere is notable for its imaginative and original approach as well as its accessible style and the contribution it makes to an era that remains opaque and misunderstood. He examines the “hombres de palabra” and the emergence of public opinion shaped by reputation as the country settled at last into a form of institutional life. The author writes: “… this book is not about nationalism, always a collective proposition, but about its individual counterpart: without honour there could be no patriotism.” – GO’T

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