El Barzon: A Complex Identity System in Action in Contemporary Mexico

By Carlos Rafael Rea Rodriguez

This article analyzes the emergence and development of one of the most important movements in contemporary Mexico: El Barzón. This is a powerful collective action which has multiple organizational expressions. It is composed of members from the mid-level productive sector of the middle class, both rural and urban, who have fallen into bankruptcy because of the old problems of decapitalization in the countryside as well as the installation of unbridled neo-liberalism. The collective response of these debtors was developed at the national level during the financial crisis of 1994. Despite the economic nature of this movement, we analyze it from the perspective of changing identity, in order to understand how the members’ original referents of belonging are dismantled and re-made through collective action.


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