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Héroes y bandidos: iconos populares y figuraciones de la nación en América Latina

Ponce-Cordero, Rafael (2011) Héroes y bandidos: iconos populares y figuraciones de la nación en América Latina. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores the figure of the hero in Latin American popular culture from a postcolonial-subalternist perspective. In the West, the conventional hero functions as a role model, defends principles of justice and order, and symbolically represents the state or at least the status quo. But what happens when—and where—the state is seen as unfair instead of just, weak instead of strong, and dangerous instead of benevolent? Is the hero different in Latin America, a marginal region in the world system living a heterogeneous modernity, as compared with the hero of a central, hegemonic power?Examining a number of real-life and fictional characters—from superheroes to criminals—this dissertation aims to understand the role these icons play in the historical processes of nation building, hegemonic domination, and subaltern resistance throughout the region. The first section deals with two hugely popular Mexican superheroes: Santo el Enmascarado de Plata and Chapulín Colorado. Santo is a straightforward, law-and-order superhero, this during a time in which Mexico and other Latin American countries still believed in, and pursued, economic progress via the developmentalist model, with a strong state, a very instrumental culture industry backed by the government, and so forth. Chapulín, by contrast, is the opposite of the regular superhero: weak, cowardly, and not too bright. If he is to be read as a national allegory, it certainly shows a different face of the Mexican state, in a time in which developmentalism was undoubtedly on its way out.The second part examines the two best selling musical genres in Latin America (and in the Hispanic market in the U.S.): the Mexican-U.S. Southwestern narcocorrido and the Puerto Rican-Nuyorican reggaetón, especially with respect to their treatment of drug lords, in the first case, and gang leaders, in the second. On many occasions, and in many ways, that treatment consists in depicting these outlaws as heroes, this in a post-communist, post-revolutionary, post-developmentalist world, and crucially, in a world after the complete failure and the devastating effects of neoliberalism in Latin America.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWinter, Juan Duchesneduchesne@pitt.eduDUCHESNE
Committee MemberHerlinghaus, Hermannhxh@pitt.eduHXH
Committee MemberBeverley, Johnbrq@pitt.eduBRQ
Committee MemberPuri, Shalinispuri@pitt.eduSPURI
Date: 30 January 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 8 December 2010
Approval Date: 30 January 2011
Submission Date: 8 December 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: chapulin colorado; chespirito; cultural studies; latin america; lucha libre; mexico; narcocorrido; popular culture; popular imagination; puerto rico; reggaeton; santo el enmascarado de plata; superheroes; social bandits; subalternity
Other ID:, etd-12082010-192623
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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