Mexico's Political Culture: the Unrule of Law and Corruption as a Form of Resistance

Stephen D. Morris


Mexico faces intense rule of law challenges vis-à-vis society (crime, informal markets, etc.) and the state (corruption, human rights abuses, etc.). One factor linking these two dimensions is the lack of legitimacy. Mexicans rarely trust the law, governmental institutions, or their politicians. This essay explores some of the implications, dimensions and challenges of this aspect of the dominant Mexican political discourse. Following a brief discussion of the Mexican political culture as it relates to questions of legitimacy and the rule of law, I argue that these factors generate an underlying assumption of corruption, an anti-state and hence pro-society bias, and an ambiguous political situation, and, in turn, craft an environment feeding corruption, and non-systemic behavior. The essay concludes by highlighting not only the importance of establishing the legitimacy of the rule of law and the difficulties and challenges of doing so, but also the need to prioritize the application of the rule of law to the state and state officials based on a strategy of strengthening civil society.


Rule of law; corruption; legitimacy; political culture

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