Devotion in Mexico: between Revolutionary Banditry, Crime and Indigenous Resistance Movements
The essay, in a perspective of comparative history, tries to reconstruct the complex relationship between social bandolerismo, criminal violence and the use of religion in the Twentieth century Mexico. Among harmonious and discordant elements, compared to the case of the Italian Mezzogiorno, the essay attempts to reconstruct the deep contradictions that pervaded this relation and to explore some forms of exploiting and reinventing religion and devotional elements of Catholicism inside some banditry experiences. At the same time the essay tries to articulate ‒ recovering (and separating) ‒ other forms of violent reaction to social pressures in the indigenous syncretic Mexico. The processes of modernization played a decisive role in the redefinition of social violence, building the myth of the “civilizational lag” of a part of the Mexican nation; a lag often connected, by modernizing elite, to its religious dimension (“the fanatics”). Even a paradigmatic phenomenon, in the context of the Twentieth century revolutions, like the Zapatismo, for a long time was associated, by the elite, with a form of barbaric, aztec and superstitious lag, before being recovered as a social process and revolutionary agrarian movement.