Most conferences and the collections of essays they occasionally spawn
achieve, at best, a paper-thin thematic unity. They resemble, in the telling
phrase of Barrington Moore, "a dog's breakfast." The editors, in such
cases, must labor mightily to fashion a tenuous conceptual thread in order
to tie the essays together and convince a skeptical reader that they are all
part of the same analytical enterprise.
This volume and the conference that generated it, by way of contrast,
began with a sharply defined problem. The result is a collection of essays
exhibiting a rare degree of empirical richness and thematic unity. Much of
the credit for this belongs to Gil Joseph and Daniel Nugent for having
thought through and stated the issues linking state formation, popular
culture, and the Mexican revolution with such clarity. Credit is also due to
those contributors, particularly Alan Knight, Bill Roseberry, and Derek
Sayer, who took it upon themselves to clarify some of the major concep-
tual issues. Finally, mirabile dictu, the authors of each empirical study do, in
fact, directly address the thorny relationship between hegemonic pro-
cesses and resistance for that patch of the Mexican experience they
examine. They are all, in other words, part of the same conversation-the
same discursive community.
I am not, even remotely, a Mexicanist. And although I have thought
about the issues of hegemony, domination, and resistance in the context
of Southeast Asia, a foreword is hardly the place to raise complex concep-
tual problems, let alone presume to solve them. What I can do is suggest
some lines of comparative inquiry that I suspect might be fruitful and, if it
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