Since the Revolution of 1910, Mexican society has undergone a profound transformation, characterized by the disempowerment of the landed aristocracy and the rise of a new ruling class of plutocrats and politicians; the development of a middle class of white-collar professionals; and the upward mobility of formerly disenfranchised Indians who have become urban, working-class Mestizos. Indeed, Mexico's class system today increasingly resembles that of Western industrialized nations, proving that, while further democratic reforms are needed, the Revolution initiated an ongoing process of change that has created a more egalitarian society in Mexico with greater opportunities for social advancement. This authoritative ethgraphy examines the transformation of social classes in the Cordoba-Orizaba region during the latter half of the twentieth century to create a model of provincial social stratification in Mexico. Hugo Nutini focuses on the increased social mobility that has affected all classes of society, especially the rural Indians who have taken advantage of education, job opportunities, and contact with the wider world to achieve Mestizo status. He also traces the transfer of power that followed the demise of the hacienda system, as well as the growing importance of the middle class. This description and analysis of the provincial social stratification system complements the work Nutini has done on the national class system, centered in Mexico City, to offer a comprehensive picture of social stratification and mobility in Mexico today.
HUGO G. NUTINI is University Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh.