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National Day on Mexican Television :


Modernization and Nationalism

Laura Mrquez Elenes, BA. M.Sc.


Master in Sciences by University of Montreal in Canada.
Bachelor in Journalism and Communication at Mexico National Autonomus University.
esgrimma@yahoo.com.mx

Abstract

This paper is an essay that explores the changing concepts of national identity and nationalism in
Mexico .The discussion is about globalization and modernization conveyed by the messages
transmitted on television .
Diverse theoretical visions are quoted because this is a complex problem. This way, with an historical
overview, together with the punctual interpretations of key moments in the development of the
State-Nation, Culture and Communication Media. I will establish a basis for analyzing the current
messages about the festivities that had their origins before television.
This paper offers a background on the national day in Mexico; The Independence day that is
celebrated on September 15th and 16th . This celebration is broadcast each year by different private
networks like Televisa and Television Azteca, and Chanel 11 that is public : are described and
analized some elements of the transmitted message such as music, regional customs, food and
culture. We may consider that the structure of television programming and the televised message are
shaping a modern Mexican identity and fosturing feelings of nationalism.
Four main aspects in this paper are developed : the notion of nationalism and culture, the political
construction of the State and the Mexican nation; the roots of modernization and the Mexican
nation; the description of the message transmitted on television.
This research discusses the problems that face a Latin American Country in a complex
communication world, especially the problems of access to a diversity of programming
for the whole population,and the possible consequences for the feelings of nationalism
and the project of nation in the global order.

Nationalism And Culture

This paper begins with some conceptual definitions about the relationship between Nationalism and
culture; this relationship as phenomena is tightly related with mass culture. Traditions are exposed as
entertainment, and rituals are mediated by television. Stephan Dahl (June 1998) in his paper Cultural
Diversity, Globalization and Cultural Convergence began by defining culture in philosophical terms
and wrote that in the early stages of the philosophical debate about what is culture, the term often
referred to the opposite of nature. Whereas Culture was refered to something constructed
willingly by men, while nature was given in itself. In the eighteenth century, the word culture
emerged more in the sense of products that are worthy, limited to Durer, Goethe, and Beethoven.
The term was used to describe elite and high-culture concepts, particularly in continental Europe. In
the nineteenth century, the concept of mass culture and popular culture were developed by the
Frankfurt School and the Birmigham School .
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Dahl explores how the content of televised messages is part of this modern idea of culture and
nationalism. In this sense, Stephan Dahl (1998) wrote that the individual learns culture from the
environment, first from the family, later from social relationships, and in particular from the media.
The individual lives in a complex set of relationships with this environment and is hence influenced by
the culture surrounding him or her, as well as influencing it. There are distinct features in which
cultures differ from each other: the national character, basic personality, perception, time concepts,
space concepts, thinking, language, non verbal communication, values, behaviors and social
groupings and nationalities. All of these distinct features are interconnected, and influence each other.
Let us analyze this phenomenon when the mass communication media arise. John Sinclair (2000)
defines National Culture as a reality composed of a variety of ethnic groups, regional variations,
and historical influences. He also says that it is important to distinguish culture from nation, to avoid
the falsehood of referring to the international cultural influence as if it were only the domination of a
national culture above another. Sinclair (2000) also adds that in English-speaking countries it is the
argument of historian Benedict Anderson (1991 in Imagined Communities: Reflection on the origin
and Spread of Nationalism) which attributes an important role to the media in the ascent of the State-
Nation.
Andersons thesis is that the formation of the modern State-Nation coincides with the appearance of
what he calls print-capitalism, which is the generalization of books in the years after the Reform,
creating the conditions for nations to take roots culturally. Anderson defines the State-Nation as an
imaginary community, not so much because it is an ideological construction of dominant groups but
to underline the importance of the cultural feeling of State-Nation belonging.
With this backgound the way Mexican scholars approach this problem is studied.
Diverse theoretical visions are quoted because this is a complex problem. This way,
with an historical overview, together with the punctual interpretations of key moments in
the development of the State-Nation, Culture and Communication Media, I will establish
a basis for analyzing the current messages about festivities that had their origins before
television.

The State and the Construction of the Mexican Nation

How was constructed of the Mexican nation with its historical background and what are the reasons
for the celebration of the Independence day like the National day. How did the state manufacture
the notion of nationalism and why was it important to institutionalize the Independence Day to create
the perception of the new nation . Those concepts are developed in this chapter.
How did the state construct the birth of nationalism and why, was it important to institutionalize the
Independence Day, in order to create the view of the new-fangled nation and the Mexican identity .
The feeling of freedom is due to the liberation from the spaniards and gratefulness for the glorious
independence revolution. Enrique Florescano (Etnia, Estado y Nacin 1997) approaching this
problem from a historical perspective, says that the Mexican Liberal Constitution of 1857, by
declaring all inhabitants as equal citizens of the Republic, avoided giving ethnic groups the right to
protect the ways of life of their communities, thus disposes the indigenous groups of a legal
personality to defend their lands without decreeing any law in their favor. As a consequence, during
the nineteeth century there were peasant uprisings, displacement of Indian groups from their lands,
and killings. Also, it brought as a disastrous result for peasants the loss of lands that had long
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supported their people before. During the nineteenth century private interests established associations
with the government to take the Indians possessions and enter public lands into the private sector.
Florescano stresses that when Mexico won its Independence at the beginning of the nineteenth
century it is estimated that approximately 40% of farming lands from central and south Mexico were
communal in the hands of the people. When Porfirio Diaz fell in 1911 (before the Revolution War)
only five percent remained in the same hands. (1)
It is interesting to mention that Porfirio Diaz was from Indian origin, born in Oaxaca, an area with the
large amount of ethnic groups in Mexico besides Chiapas. He was born on September 15, 1830 and
died in exile on July 2, 1915 in Paris. He was a soldier from 1877 to 1880 and president from 1884
to 1911. He was a mestizo, part Indian. During his first four years in office, Diaz began a slow
process of consolidation of power and built up a strong political machine. Even the legislature was
composed of his friends, and the press was muffled. He also maintained tight control over courts.
The Roman Catholic Church maintained a policy of non involvement in return for a certain degree on
freedom. Diaz had two advisers, Matas Romero and Jos Limantour, (after 1893) who were
responsible for the influx of foreigners to build railroads and bridges, to dig mines, and to irrigate
fields. Mexicos new wealth, however, was not distributed throughout the country.
On February 17, 1908, in an interview with a reporter for Peersons Magazine, Diaz announced his
retirement. Immediately, opposition and pro-government groups began to scramble to find suitable
presidential candidates. Then, as plans were being formalized, Diaz decided not to retire but instead
to allow Francisco Madero, an aristocratic but democratically- inclined reformer, to run against him.
Madero lost the election, but resorted to a military revolution. Diaz resigned office in May 25,1911
and went into exile to Paris where he died in 1915.
The sentiment of Indians as enemies of progress, or the assurance that they were guilty of the
countrys backwardness and failures incited campaigns creating a negative image of the Indian. The
press, books, speeches, art, and the most diverse media promoted a degraded, savage and obtuse
image of the Indian groups that became generalized during that century and entered the most
profound parts of the national consciousness.
Precisely during the period of Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915) September 15th was established for
Independence Day celebration, together with a military parade on September 16th. Porfirio Diazs
Education Secretary, Justo Sierra, was opposed to the racist thesis against the Indians and
considered they should be integrated into the nation as a progressive class through education and the
improvement of their living conditions. However, those who held in their hands the decisions in public
affairs thought that the solution to the countrys problems was to be found in the foreign white people
(Florescano 1997). This way, the ideology that justified the negation of the Indian values was
conceived as modernization.
The concept of modernization is used in the of the sense of economical and political
development refering to traditional societies or undevelopped societies that stressed a lack
comparing to the modern or developped. In Latin American societies,there are a complex asymetric
economical procedures, with regard to cultural context and political development compared to a
developed country.

(1) Mexican Presidents before Revolution War: 1861-1863 Benito Juarez .1863-1864 Second Empire
Regency .1864 -1867 Maximiliano (The second Mexican Empire) 1867-1872 Benito Juarez, 1872-1876
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Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, 1876 Porfirio Diaz, 1876 Juan N.Mendez ,1877 -1880 Porfirio Diaz, 1880-1884
Manuel Gonzalez 1884- 1911 Porfirio Diaz.
Canclini (1989) in Culturas Hbridas,estrategias para entrar y salir de la modernidad says that Latin
America is conceived like a complex articulation of traditions and modernities (inequal, and divers)
where there coexist multiple logics of development.
Mondernism is not an expression related to economical modernization ,it is as if the
elite functionin a different historical temporality to elaboralte a global project. The Latin
American Coutries are in fact the result of the juxtaposition of indian traditions and the
catholic colonial Spanish and the modern educational, political and communicational
actions.
Octavio Paz (1996) says that once Independence was achieved (1810), the classes in power in
Mexico which before was New Spain- consolidated themselves as inheritors of the old Spanish
order. They broke with Spain but remained incapable of creating a modern society. The groups
leading the Independence movement didnt constitute new social forces, but wanted the prolongation
of a feudal system. Paz adds, regarding the period of Porfirio Diaz, that in appearance his
government was inspired by the latest ideas: He believed in progress, science, the industrys
miracles, and free trade-ideals of the of the European ruling class. He was the most educated of
Latin Americas dictators. Intellectuals read Comte, Renan, Spencer and Darwin, and the Mexican
aristocracy was a civilized urban class. Many thought then that the Diaz regime was preparing the
transition from a feudal past to a modern society.
In short, we observe that the ascent of nationalism was initially sustained by the criollo patriotism
(descendants of Spanish born in Mexico), a collective sentiment that in the eighteenth century had
created social identities that recognized themselves by the pride of having been born in a country full
of natural wealth and blessed by the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Florescano (1997)
adds that, during the Independence War, being criollo was part of a national discourse. The war
itself and the ideas of writers such as Fray Melchor de Talamantes and Fray Servando Teresa de
Mier gave it a whole anti-Spanish and anti-Colonialist approach.
This means that the beginning of Mexican nationalism was fed by a conviction that the potential of the
population and the territory of the nation could not flourish while there was a link that held the
country subject to a foreign power. Later, the United States invasion of Mexico in 1847 and the
French invasion in 1864-1867 transformed this nationalism into an anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist
discourse. The defeat of the Mexican army to the United States, followed by the loss of half of the
countrys territory, had as consequence a profound sentiment of anger that obliged a revision of the
concept of Nation and the weakness of the State.
The governments of Benito Jurez (1861 to 1863 and 1867 to 1872) followed by that of Lerdo de
Tejada (1872 to 1876), and later of Porfirio Diaz (1876 to 1880 and 1884 to 1911), transformed
ceremonies honoring the flag and the national hymn into civic cults repeated throughout the national
territory by the educational system. The official festivities calendar displaced the religious festivities,
and in this way the founding dates for the Republic. The glorious battles with foreign invaders and the
celebration of heroes that defended the country became acts celebrated by the majority of the
population.
The idea of Nation was identified with the founding dates for the Republic, with the heroes who
defended the country, the flag, the national emblem, and the national hymn, with programmed rituals
in the civic calendar. Enrique Florescano explains (1997) that the change of patriotic sentiments at
the end of the eigheeth century to a nationalist ideology manipulated by a ruling class made this
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nationalism an official ideology opposed to the other concept of nation. As the state strengthened, the
nationalism that it promoted acquired more force and increased its rejection of the ethnic groups that
sought their own identity. In the next section I analyse how the Mexican Revolution intended to
rescue the Indigenous past and how the political power, transformed the resurgence of a Modern
State concept and at the same time sustaining the national sentiment through the symbolism
established during the Porfirio Diaz epoch. (2)

Nationalism and Mexican Nation. The Roots of modernization

After the armed revolution of 1910, the visions of nation and country have been diverse. Historically
it is called Modern Mexico since 1911, and Contemporary Mexico since 1940, starting with the
presidency of Manuel Avila Camacho.
A discussion about the modernization and different concepts of nationalism is developed., According
to Ral Bjar Navarro and Hctor Rosales (1999) quoting Villegas when describing the situation of
Mexico during this modernization and globalization era we must consider that the motives of the
appearance of the nationalism during the twenteeth century are still present. Again, we are talking of
a crisis that questions our Mexican identity and the life of the nation as sovereign and independent. It
is not about taking arms and fighting an invader, but of first being conscious that we have lost control
of our project for a nation. (3)
The main aspect we would agree upon from what Bjar and Rosales (1999), say is that the unending
story of the Mexican national culture seems to be an eternal debate between Western civilization and
the Indian culture. The political uses of studies on national culture add an ingredient that makes this
situation even more complex, leading to the idea that we lack the adequate terminology to describe
our own reality and that, therefore, it is important to begin the task of thinking and naming the
processes affecting us.
One of these processes affecting us is the so-called globalization, which, according to
Bjar and Rosales (1999) provokes a certain displacement of the economic and cultural
segments in relation to national societies, integrating them into a totality that has
established a greater distance from the most deprived groups which are marginaly from
job opportunities and consumerism. The concept of globalization is associated with the
image of unifying life styles, consumerism and enjoyment. On the other hand, the idea of
worldliness does not imply the suppression of cultural differences but their articulation
into a different totality.
The configuration of a World Culture according to Garca Canclini (quoted by Bjar and Rosales
1999) establishes a new basis in the relationship between culture and technology. In films, television,
video, and radio it is expressed as a novel combination that fuses the instrumenteal and the
expressionistic aspects. Contemporary culture, based on technological unification, promotes
differentiation and segmentation, so the culture tends toward un-territoriality. The new articulations
modify the geographical centers and amplify themselves thoughaut among the whole planet, tracing
new coordinates from networks, and cables. The productive and recreational spaces conform new
maps in global merchandised management.

(2) When the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, a radicalism was implanted which Octavio Paz .
explains in his El Laberinto de la Soledad (1996:157) consisting in a search for the origin, in going back to the roots.
The zapatismo (Emiliano Zapata was leader of the Revolution in southern Mexico) not only rescued the valid part of
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the Colonial tradition but also assured that a truly promising political construction must begin with the oldest, most
stable and durable portion of our nation: the Indigenous past.

(3)The Modernization implys that the society has already passed by the modernity.(Orozco,Davila. 1997) The
Consequences of modernity implys the modernization;it means that the modern societies had been forgotten to be
traditionals, to become developped societies and pass to a high tehcnological organization.The authors quote that the
modernity push in the practice of an intense globalization process.
Concepts that have not been questioned for a long time, nationality, nationalism, culture and national
identity, show their true nature as imaginary constructions that require a reformulation from the
indogenous procedures within each society, the technological revolution, the media and the
configuration of a new international order based on opening markets. (Bjar 1999)
Following this idea, I will consider two arguments by English authors who have reflected on the role
of television on the formation of nationalism and national identity. David Morley and Kevin Robins
(quoted by Sinclair 2000) have worked on the topic of the creation of imaginary communities saying
that television daily reinforces on individuals the national standardizing of time and the idea of
belonging to a national territory, such as in meteorology reports on newscast. Stuart Hall (Sinclair
2000) says that, instead of seeing national cultures unified, we must consider them a discourse
mechanism which implies that social differences unify through an identity. National cultures, according
to Hall, are crossed by profound internal divisions and can only be unified by the exercise of several
forms of cultural power.
The key concept here is the idea of cultural power. In this sense, Morley and Robins say that cultural
identity is the relative power of diverse groups to define their own identities, and their capacity to
mobilize and control their cultural institutions. For Hall, the social construction of identity always
takes place within a context marked by power relationships, and non-withstanding that the media
may be local, national or global, it has a key role in divulging symbolic contets with the dominant
interest.
Sinclair adds (2000) that throughout the Spanish-speaking world, several theoreticians agree with the
ideological tendency of using the media within the cultural construction of a nation. Martn Barbero
points out (quoted by Sinclair 2000), appears to agree with Anderson when he says that the
development of national radio broadcasting systems provide people from different regions and
provinces their first everyday experience of a nation. The history of the institutionalization of radio
and then of television in Spain, as in many Latin American countries, shows how the government
used the media for its objective of creating a nation as part of the nationalistic projects during
the1970s.
Louw Eric (2001) explains that during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were two main
contenders for controlling media organization apexes-capitalist and the state. Two main varieties
emerged, namely private business and the public sector ownership. However, as media organizations
grew larger and more complex, both the capitalist and state-owned varieties adopted similar
organizational frameworks and practices. In both forms professional managers were in control The
State licensed media had some forms of public sector involvement in the culture industry but they
have not entailed direct ownership or control of the media. This form of control was widely used by
European governments into the ninenteeth century (Smith 1979 quoted by Louw) This control regime
was also exported to European colonies in the Americas, Australia and Southern Africa.The licensing
censorship was born on the rise of the European Middle class.
In the third quarter of the twentieth century explain Louw, a new kind of media ownership emerged
as various actors within civil society attempted to set up media. For instance, community media
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ownership emerged as an option far both state and business ownership. But this new form has not
yet become a significant feature of media organizations.
The Public service broadcasting is a second form of indirect government taking part, but the degree
to which these corporations grew actually autonomous of goverments, however, varied form country
to country.
During the 1960s and 1970s (Eric Louw 2001) in Latin America an intresting form of state-
subsidized media arose and alliances developed between authoritarian governments and local
capitalist elites. Precisely this happened with Mexican television in 1970 when president Luis
Echevera lvarez created the institution IMEVISION (Mexican Television Institute). In fact the
government bought a private television station, Channel 13, which passed into the governments
hands with the purpose of divulging national information, the presidents activities, and national
productions. It is also then when the first government news agency NOTIMEX, was established,
with the same intention.(4)
Nationalism was promoted as a coherent policy with the Mexican government when information of
and from Mexico was throughout broadcast the world. Televisa, a private network, established
within its policies the idea of promoting and transmitting nationalist values which became so evident
that their news programs were criticized for being supportive of the Governments official party, the
PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party). Without a doubt Mexican media organization changes,
since dominant governmental discourse is established.

Habermas (quoted by Louw 2001) introduced the concept of the public sphere, to explain the
phenomenon in Europe, as a sphere which mediates between society and state, in which the public
organizes itself as the barer of public opinion, accords with the principle of the public sphere that
principle of public information which once had to be fought for against the arcane policies of
monarchies and which since that time has made possible the democratic control of state activities.
The private-owned media, explains Louw, have also operated outside the public sector influence,
namely capitalist-owned media systems. The dominance of these players coincided with the
emergence of neo-liberalism as a globally dominant discourse. During the twentieth century, a culture
industry grew that looked upon its audience as consumers.
We need to interpret the present phenomenon of Mexican communication media within the spheres
of globalization, identity and nationalism. In this sense Nstor Garca Canclini, in his book
Consumidores y Ciudadanos (1995) says, regarding identities and the media, that Multi-media
(video, computers, cinema) and Multi-culture are two key notions to define the role of film and other
communication systems, of the culture in general, and the possibility that the audiovisual space may
be relocated within a multi-contextual communication. He stresses that studying how the relations of
continuity, rupture and hybridization are being produced between local and global systems,
traditional and ultra-contemporary, and of cultural development, is today one of the greatest
challenges for the representations of identities and the citizenship.

(4) 1944-1949 Mexican presidents Manuel Avila Camacho and Miguel Aleman have received the request
from many people to have the operation of commercial television system.
1955-Was formed the first commercial private television system TELESISTEMA MEXICANO S.A channels
2,4,5.
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1972-1973 President Luis Echeverria formed the State System IMEVISION with national channels 7 and 13
with a commercial formula but with a public conception .During these years was created TELEVISA. The
strongest private network in Mexico with channels 2,4,5, and 8.
1994President Carlos Salinas de Gortari sold IMEVISION the Channels 13 and 7 and was founded TV
Azteca with a private and commercial structure.
2001-President Vicente Fox Quezada-The strongest commercial private network in Mexico is
Telesistema Mexicano S.A (Televisa) with a total of 326 affiliated networks operating in whole
contry. The second is TV Azteca. The public are Channel 22 and Channel 11 both with a cultural
programming service.

Not only is there co-production, but also coexistence conflicts among ethnic groups and nationalities
within the working and consumer scenario, so the categories of hegemony and resistance continue to
be useful. But the complexity and gradations of these interactions also require the study of identity as
a negotiation process, as they are hybrid and multicultural. An example of this multiethnic Mexico
may be refere some satatistics about population and media system in Mexico. The last National
Mexican Census 2000, (INEGI,National Institute of Statistics Geography and History) confer a
total population in Mexico of 97.5 million; where 8,381,314 are indigenous residents with 84
identified speaking languages , in first place Nahuatl , second Maya and thirth Mixteco. The INI
(National Indigenious Institute) uses the data given by the Census but with a standard based on
the people who is 5 years older who speak an indigenous language 5,879,202 (16.9%) who
993,617 do not speak Spanish and 4,885,585 who are bilingual indigenous language and Spanish
(83.1%).
Looking media organization system in Mexico by numbers ,2002 can be summarized as
follows:Television networks that cover almost all the contry Television Azteca channels 7 and 13,
Televisa channels 2, 5 and 9. Regional television Networks: CNI channel 40. Local Network
Affiliates, Group Telesistema, Group Multimedios Estrellas de oro, Televisa channel 4, XEDK Super
6 Guadalajara. Television Broadcasting Services are 19 distributed in the Country like Cable and
Satellite services. Channel 11 and Channel 22 are themselves classify as public cultural broadcasting
service and are granted by the State. Data in the last National Mexican Census (INEGI 2000), 85.6
% homes in Mexico had Television. Statistics given by COFETEL (Federal Commission of
Telecommunications 2001) were for Television subscribers: Cable 2,487, Satellite 869 000,and
Microwaves 328 000.

What follows is a descriptive analysis of the transmission of the September 15, 2000, celebration on
television when Ernesto Zedillo was president. His presidency was described as a continuation of the
neo-liberal project in favor of globalization that began with the proposal during the presidency of
Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), who applied the Mexican States neo-liberal project
continued by Vicente Fox Quezada (2000-2006).

National Day on Television: September 15, 2000

On the evening of September 15th and the morning of September 16th,Mexico celebrates its
Independence Day. This is a civic festivity (fiesta) celebrated in each of Mexicos cities with the so-
called Independence Exhortation or Grito. Mexicos president in office exits to the main balcony of
the Government Palace (Palacio Nacional) overlooking the Zcalo (Mexico Citys main square
plaza, located at the citys center) holding the national flag (a patriotic symbol) and pronounces the
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same words spoken by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (The father of the Nation) the evening of
September 15, 1810: Mexicans, long live Mexico. He then adds, Mexicans, long live the heroes
that gave us a country. Meanwhile he waves the flag with his arms.During the broadcast, television
announcers give historical reviews of that glorious September 15th, and close-ups are taken of the
people who have come to celebrate. Children are seen with small flags in their hands, and a party for
the people is organized with typical Mexican food that is always a very important part of these
festivities.Tacos(5), tamales(6) ,pozole(7), atole (8)

(5) Mexican pre-hispanic food made with tortilla ,filled with different things like chicken or meat,(6) Pre- Hispanic hot salt
roll made by corn (7) Mexican pre-hispanic soup made with corn. (8) Pre Hispanic hot drink flavored with strawberry or
chocolate.
People are usually dressed in typical Mexican costumes like: sombreros and zarapes. After the
exhortation or grito the national hymn is played and sung, (beginning with: Mexicans, at the call of
war). The bell rings and there are fireworks.
It could be said that a festive nationalism is incited. Additionally it is remarkable to stress how the
televised broadcast reproduces the same nationalism structure of the Porfirio Daz era, the armed
combat with the enemy. We dare to point out that the televised broadcast effectively reproduces this
vision of Mexico that liberated itself from a Spanish foreign conquering enemy.
During September, which is called the Patriotic Month, flags and other artifacts for the festivities are
sold on the street..Flags wave from practically every house and building, lighted decorations are set
up in every city in Mexico.
When the grito ceremony ends, the sky lights with multicolored rockets. Television announcers
emphasize during the whole broadcast the importance of the celebration, naming the heroes who
gave us a Country, a free independent Nation!!!!
The following day, September 16th, a military parade is also televised, and since this is an official
non-working day people can watch the parade. Mexicos President in office, in this case president
Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000), representative of the PRI, (Revolutionary Institutional Party) the
party in power, watched the parade from the main square the Zcalo- and that event was also
televised.(9)
The options of viewing other programming are available to people with Paid television
broadcasting systems like Cablevisin, MVS, and SKY.

(9) Dayan, Daniel and E., Katz (1995) wrote about Ceremonail Television that or forming a relatively
coherent television "genre", these ceremonial events share semantic features. They celebrate consensus,
"history-in the-making", acts of will, charismatic leaders. Formally they disrupt television syntax. They
cancel the rule of "schedules," interrupt the flows of programming, monopolize many (if not all) channels
while they themselves are broadcast "live" from remote locations. In terms of their pragmatics they are
viewed by festive communities. Audiences prepare themselves for the event, gather, dress up, display
their emotion. Like all "genres," but more explicitly than most, media events can be considered contracts.
Thus, each particular event results from negotiations between three major partners: (a) Organizers propose
that a given situation be given ceremonial treatment. (b) Broadcasters will transmit, but also restructure the
event; (c) Audiences will validate the event's ceremonial ambition, or denounce it as a joke. In order for a
media event to trigger a collective experience, each of these partners must actively endorse it. No
broadcasting organization can unilaterally decide to mount a ceremonial event. This decision is generally
that of national, supranational or religious institutions. The authority invested in such institution is what
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turns events that are essentially gestures, into more than gesticulations. It is what makes them media
events and not, as Boorstin would put it "pseudo events".

Televised ceremonies are examples of events that exist but do not need to "take place." These events have
been remodeled in order not to need a territorial inscription any longer. The scenography of former public
events was characterized by the actual encounter, on a specifiable site, of ceremonial actors and their
audiences. It has been replaced by a new mode of "publicness" inspired by cinema and based on the
potential separation a) between actors; (b) of actors and audiences.A second transformation affects
ceremonial participation. This transformation turns the effervescent crowds of mass ceremonies into
domestic audiences. Instead of mobilizing expressive publics, the event is celebrated by small groups.A
monumental but distant celebration triggers a multitude of micro-celebrations. Leading to a typically
"diasporic ceremoniality," the immensity of television audiences translates collective events into intimate
occasions. Dayan, D., and E. Katz (1995).Television Events and Instant History. In, Smith, A., editor.
Oxford Illustrated History of Television. New York: Oxford University Press.

What follows is an example of the simultaneous broadcast of the televised events. The strongest
competition to the Independence day celebration came from transmission of the 2000 Olympic
Games in Sydney. On the evening of September 15, Televisa channel 2 opened a space in its
programmed newscast to broadcast the grito ceremony at 11:00 in the evening. Channel 13 of
Televisin Azteca , opened up a space in its evening newscast to present the ceremony. Channel 11,
that broadcasts its open signal in Mexico Citys Metropolitan Area and by cable to other parts of the
country, transmitted the entire grito ceremony. At the same time via cable channels, programs could
be seen such as Tom and Jerry on the Cartoon Network, Dinosaurs in the Discovery Channel, and
the Sydney Olympic Games in Channel 7 of Televisin Azteca. The next day, September 16th, the
only channel that broadcast the whole military parade was Channel 11 , from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.
Simultaneously in Channel 7 of TV Azteca the Olympic Games of Sydney 2000 were broadcasted,
and Channel 2 of Televisa had a live transmission of a variety program called HOY (Today). On
cable, the Cartoon Network transmitted cartoons, and the Discovery Channel the programs Shark
Files and Wild Asia.
Those participating in the festivities at the Zcalo (square in the city ceter) are people who
generally live in the citys downtown area, or in nearby areas. Those who viewed it on television
lived far away or didnt want to take part personally. The cultural symbolism of the peoples
festivities, together with the food and the calls of VIVA MEXICO!! give significance to national
unity. Marginalized from the celebration are those who dont have the possibility of watching it on
television. Canclini (1995) states that identity is a construction, but the art, folklore, and
communicational stories that build it are achieved and transformed in relation to social and historic
conditions that cannot be reduced to the mise en scene.
The impact of this televised festivity on communities that have television, may be raising at least two
national dimensions: 1) a modernized and mediated Mexico, and 2) a multicultural Mexico with its
ethnic groups. Here the delicate part is the televised message and information, which could
reproduce the hegemonic culture of those who are part of modernity and of those who are not. For
example, social movements such as the EZLN, the Zapatista Army National Liberation movement in
Chiapas, where a large part of the population is from different ethnic groups, speak languages other
than Spanish, and dont have an equal presence in the medias programmed contents, be these the
press, radio, or television, both in quantity or in quality. In the National program for the Indigenous
settlements 2001-2006 in the chapter concerning Culture and Rights is noted that in the commercial
11

and public media the cultural Mexican diversity is absent .Only the IMER (Mexican Radio
Institute) has 24 radio stations that broadcast in 31 indigenous languages and Spanish. Television
broadcast is an effort made by some video production at the Universities and Channels 11 and 22,
also by Jaliciense System of Television and Television and Radio in Chiapas, Oaxaca and
Michoacan. Even though in relation to private television networks is disproportionate.
Stephan Dahl (University of Luton 1998) has written that political institutions have come under
pressure more and more from global industry, resulting in more dramatic changes towards a full
scale, neo-liberal world order. Media can serve to repress as well as liberate, unite as well as
fragment society, both to promote and hold back change. This makes media an extremely powerful
tool, a promoter of social, structural and cultural change, a role model for those who follow it. He
summarizes their potential in agreement with McQuail (1994) in terms of attracting and directing
public attention, persuading in matters of opinion and belief, influencing behavior, structuring
definitions of reality, conferring status and legitimacy, and informing quickly and extensively.
Media contents present themselves today as a global form of entertainment. Esslin Martin wrote
(2002) the United States, has the largest output of television programs in the world and is moreover,
able to cover their cost on its very large home market . As a result, the US is able to export its
programs at very low cost to other countries. Television thus has what might be called a
homogenizing effect on world culture. In many parts of the world indigenous songs fight a losing
battle with rock . In the same sense Stephan Dahal wrote that the concepts of game shows, talk
shows, soap operas, and films are the same around the world, mirroring one type of society. The
question of what works in one country is explored heavily through complex networks of distributors
and co-operation agreements as well as economic interest in stations in other countries then their
homebase: programs like the Simpsons, X Files, Married with Children, The Nanny, ER, provide
now a form of global entertainment .
John Sinclair (2000) states that communication media, local, national or globally, have a key role in
divulging symbolic contents according to the dominant interests. In this sense we could say that the
interests are intimately linked to government power structures and those of commercial media in
Mexico to international neo-liberal policies.
It must be pointed out that we need to study the changes in the relationship between the private and
public television in Mexico from this perspective. We also need to analyze in different moments in
history the relation between government, media structure, what have been concepts of Nation,
Nationalism and Nation Identity.
At this point, we dare state that there is an important impact due to the NEW telecommunication
systems in Mexico. The symbolic contents of the Internet, radio, television, movies, and music are
modifying in some way the imaginary visions of the country as well as these of the world.

Conclusions

Four main aspects in this paper were developed : the notion of nationalism and culture, the political
construction of the State and the Mexican nation; the roots of modernization and the Mexican
nation; the description of the message transmitted on television.
In the paper we described the content of the televised message and the television programming as a
part of the modern culture of nationalism. In this sense Stephan Dahl (1998) wrote that the
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individual learns culture from the environment, fist from the family, later from social relationship, and
in particular from the media. John Sinclair (2000) defines National Culture as a reality composed
of a variety of ethnic groups , regional variations, and historical influences. He also says that it is
important to distinguish culture from nation, to avoid the falsehood of refering the international cultural
influence as if it was only the domination of a national culture above another.
We have understood the present phenomenon of Mexican communication media within the spheres
of globalization, identity and nationalism. In this sense Nestor Garcia Canclini, in his book
Consumidores y Ciudadanos (1995)says regarding identities the media,that Multi-media like
videos and Multi-culture are two key notions to define the role of film and other communication
systems, and the culture in general . Therefore arises the possibility,that local and national identities
may be relocated within a multi-contextual communication. The complexity and the gradations of
these interactions also requires the study of identity as a negotiation process, as they are hybrid and
multicultural. Canclini states that identity is a construction , but art, folklore , and communicational
stories that build it are achieved and transformed in relation to social and historic conditions that
cannot be reduced to the mise en scene. Martin Barbero (1987) wrote that the development of
national ratio broadcasting systems provide people form different regions their first everyday
experience of nation.
Stephan Dahl (1998) wrote that the political institutions have come under pressure from more and
more global industry, resulting in more dramatic changes towards a full scale, neo-liberal world
order. Media contets present themselves today as a global form of entertainment . The concepts of
game shows, talk shows, soap operas, and films are equal around the world mirroring one type of
society.
The construction of Mexican nation ,wrote Enrique Florescano(1997) Etnia,Estado y Nacion,
were involved many historical reasons but the political state was the responsible to create this. It
was important to institutionalize the independence Day to create the notion of the new nation, the
mexican identity . The feeling of freedom because the liberation from spaniards grateful the glorious
independence revolution. We observe that the ascent of nationalism was inatially sustained by the
criollo patriotism ( descendents of Spanish born in Mexico), collective sentiment that the
eighteenth Century had created social identities that recognized themselves by the appearance of
Virgin of Guadalupe. Florescano adds that , during the Independence War ,being criollo was part
of a national discourse. The war itself and the ideas of writers such as Fray Melchor de Talamantes
and fray Servando Teresa de Mier gave it a whole anti-Spanish and anti-Colonialism approach.
This means that the beginning of Mexican nationalism was fed by conviction the potential of the
population and the territory of nation could not flourish while there was a link that held the country
subject to a foreign power.
Later ,the United States invasion of Mexico in 1847 and the French in 1864-1867 transformed this
nationalism into an anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist discourse.
The defeat of the Mexican army to the United States, followed by the loss of half of the countrys
territory, had as consequence a profound sentiment of anger that obliged a revision of the concept of
Nation and then weakness of the State.
According to Raul Bejar Navarro and Hector Rosales (1999 ) when describing the situation in
Mexico during this modernization and globalization era we must consider that the motives of the
appearance of nationalism during the twentieth Century are still present. Again ,we are talking of a
crisis that questions our Mexican identity and the life of the nation as sovereign and independent. It is
13

not about taking to arms and fighting an invader, but of first being conscious that we have lost control
of our project of nation.
Mexican Independence day transmitted on September 15th 2000, Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) was
the president. His presidency was described as a continuation of the neo-liberal project in favor of
globalization that began with the proposal during the presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-
1994), who applied the Mexican State neo-liberal project. That is followed by the actual president
Vicente Fox (2000-2006)
The strongest competition to the Independence Day transmitted celebration came from
the transmission of the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000 because only one Chanel 11
broadcast all the ceremony without interruption , all the others privileged the Olympics
and only broadcast the mail part called El grito de independencia (The Independence
shout).The cultural symbolism of peoples festivity together with the food and the calls of
VIVA MEXICO , give significance to national unity. But margined from the celebration
are those that dont have the possibility of watching it on television or those communities
that dont hold the celebration. Here the delicate part is the televised message and
information , which could reproduce the hegemonic culture of those that are part of
modernity and of those that are not. In this sense we could be shaping and reinforcing at
least two national dimensions: 1) of a modernized and mediated Mexico, 2)of a
multicultural Mexico with its ethnic groups.
Mexican television system and the programming policies are agree with the market laws. It is not
available a Mexican integrating Intercultural Television National programming. Then Television
system in Mexico is not seeing a multicultural, indigenous Mexico, and is not facing a global
multicultural world.

References
Bjar, Ral and Rosales Hctor. (1999) La identidad nacional mexicana como problema
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Dahl Stephan. (June, 1998) Communications and Culture transformation, cultural diversity,
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Esslin, Martin. (2002) The age of television. USA ed Transaction Publishers.


p 86-90

Florescano, Enrique. (1997) Etnia, Estado y Nacin. Ensayo sobre las identidades colectivas
Mxico. Mexico, ed Aguilar. p 487-499 .

Garca Canclini, Nstor. (1995) Consumidores y Ciudadanos. Conflictos multiculturales de la


globalizacin. Mexico, ed Grijalbo. p 114-116.

Louw ,Eric (2001) The Media and Cultural Production. London. ed Sage Publications .p 35-47
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Orozco,Jose Luis and Davila, Consuelo.(1997) Breviario politico de la Globalizacion.Mexico.ed


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Paz, Octavio. (1996) El Laberinto de la Soledad. Mexico, ed Fondo de Cultura Econmica. p132
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Websites

Comision Federal de Telecomunicaciones.(Cofetel 2002) http://www.cofetel.gob.mx

Instituto Nacional Indigenista. (INI 2002)


http://www.ini.gob.mx

Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Historia. (INEGI 2002) http://www.inegi.gob.mx