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Blood Contingent : The Military and the Making of Modern Mexico 1876-1911 (Paperback) (Stephen B.
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"In the pursuit of the modern, the armed forces served as instrument, model, and metaphor for national progress. I examine in this book how the military experience, as representative of the process, failed or fulfilled aspects of the broad national transition towards hegemony and sovereignty. This is the first work combining personnel records and military literature with cultural sources to address the setting of military life for soldiers and their families rather than politics or officers. In connection with nation formation and identity, this book moves away from studies of the army as an institution to broaden understandings of inculcations and the limits and fault lines of building Mexico as a nation. More social and cultural in historical outlook, I examine the creation of political cultures rooted in or derived from the personal experiences of the lower ranks. In doing so, the book removes some of the privileged view that official narratives emphasize in order to explain the making of a bureaucratic institution from the bottom up, and to more clearly describe how this process both encouraged the development of nationalism and limited it in important ways. In this fashion I build on the works of scholars whose focus has centered more on officers, education, and political conflicts"--Introduction.