Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico


Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico

Deborah Toner

The Mexican Experience Series

384 pages
8 illustrations


June 2015


$70.00 Add to Cart

June 2015


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2015


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2015


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Drawing on an analysis of issues surrounding the consumption of alcohol in a diverse range of source materials, including novels, newspapers, medical texts, and archival records, this lively and engaging interdisciplinary study explores sociocultural nation-building processes in Mexico between 1810 and 1910. Examining the historical importance of drinking as both an important feature of Mexican social life and a persistent source of concern for Mexican intellectuals and politicians, Deborah Toner’s Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico offers surprising insights into how the nation was constructed and deconstructed in the nineteenth century.

Although Mexican intellectuals did indeed condemn the physically and morally debilitating aspects of excessive alcohol consumption and worried that particularly Mexican drinks and drinking places were preventing Mexico’s progress as a nation, they also identified more culturally valuable aspects of Mexican drinking cultures that ought to be celebrated as part of an “authentic” Mexican national culture. The intertwined literary and historical analysis in this study illustrates how wide-ranging the connections were between ideas about drinking, poverty, crime, insanity, citizenship, patriotism, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity in the nineteenth century, and the book makes timely and important contributions to the fields of Latin American literature, alcohol studies, and the social and cultural history of nation-building.

Author Bio

Deborah Toner is a lecturer in modern history at the University of Leicester and a leading convener of the Warwick Drinking Studies Network.


"Toner's insistence on placing disciplines into conversation with each other is to be congratulated—salud!"—William French, American Historical Review

"Deborah Toner's investigation into representations and realities of alcohol use in nineteenth-century Mexico exemplifies the benefits of truly interdisciplinary scholarship."—Amy Robinson, H-Nationalism

"Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Mexico is a very welcome addition to scholarship on alcohol culture and nation-forming processes. Undergraduates, graduate students, and academics from disciplines including anthropology, history, Latin American studies, and sociology will all learn something new from this well-researched, clearly written book."—Marie Sarita Gaytán, Historian

“Deborah Toner deftly combines the methodologies of history and literary criticism to show how drink was crucial to ideas about the nation in nineteenth-century Mexico. Informed by the findings of the anthropology of alcohol, this book offers important contributions to Mexican social, intellectual, and literary history.”—Jeffrey Pilcher, author of Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food

“Toner’s blending of literary analysis with medical and criminal reports presents a valuable approach to studies of nationalism, Mexico, and Latin America.”—James A. Garza, author of The Imagined Underworld: Sex, Crime and Vice in Porfirian Mexico

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Alcohol, Literature, and Nation-Building
Part 1. Imagining the Nation through Alcohol, Class, and Gender 
1. Everything in Its Right Place? Social Drinking Spaces, Popular Culture, and Nationhood
2. Patriotic Heroes and Consummate Drunks: Alcohol, Masculinity, and Nationhood
Part 2. Alcohol, Morality, and Medicine in the Story of National Development
3. Yankees, Toffs, and Miss Quixote: Drunken Bodies, Citizenship, and the Hope of Moral Reform
4. Medicine, Madness, and Modernity in Porfirian Mexico: Alcoholism as the National Disease
Conclusion: Drunkenness, Death, and Mexican Melancholia

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