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Revista mexicana de ciencias políticas y sociales

Print version ISSN 0185-1918


BARTRA, Roger. The Battle of Ideas and Emotions in Latin America. Rev. mex. cienc. polít. soc [online]. 2017, vol.62, n.229, pp.129-148. ISSN 0185-1918.

The long and labyrinthine process that Latin America has undergone in its way towards democracy has been marked by the same confrontations and quarrels present throughout the Western intellectual history, which have sometimes been expressed as a fight between “ideas and emotions.” In Latin America, this intellectual quarrel may be described in Julio Cortazar’s terms, as a struggle between “Baroque cronopios” versus “Gothic fames,” or as a war between two cultures: “that of blood and that of ink,” echoing the erosion of the great theories and traditional ideologies. Thus, in the wake of the political and cultural developments resulting from globalization, the Latin American democratic transitions, and the fall of the socialist bloc, we know that we are witnessing the end of an era, but we cannot yet define the new age. This article ponders, thus, what the revival of romantic views and emotions may mean at the beginning of the 21st century. Mexico, in particular, faces a major political and cultural challenge, resulting from the fact that the Mexican society is still immersed in the culture of the Revolution’s nationalism. The perennial struggle between ideas and emotions has become manifest again in the form of a dilemma between attaching to an identity in crisis and trying to reconstruct it, or rather looking ahead with the aim of creating a new democratic civic culture.

Keywords : Latin America; Mexico; 20th century; democratic transition; populism; left parties.

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