Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Victor Uribe

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kenneth Lipartito

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Bianca Premo

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Gail Hollander

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Mexicanization, Cananea, Mexico, mining, national sovereignty

Date of Defense



This dissertation argues that the Mexicanization of the Compañía Minera de Cananea in 1971 represented the strongest assertion of national sovereignty over Mexican mineral resources after more than 400 years of foreign control. In contrast to the nationalization of oil in 1938, however, this emerged as a conservative and moderate effort. The U.S.-based Anaconda Copper Company retained 49% of the company's ownership after selling 51% of the company to a combination of public and private interests in Mexico. This strategy represented the triumph of conservative forces, whose legitimacy rested on popular appeals to the Mexican Revolution, except transforming it into an instrument to achieve the goals of the new post-revolutionary elite.

The study uses the approach of cultural history to examine the contours of economic life. As such, the concept of national sovereignty illuminates changing discourses regarding the character of work, nature, and the organization of Mexican society and politics. In its original version, national sovereignty was integral to an economic paradigm whereby the possession, control, and exploitation of natural resources by the Mexican nation were to benefit the Mexican people. The revolutionary Constitution of 1917 divided labor and natural resources and made it so that the working class could be controlled and deployed according to national interests defined by elites.

Originating in a major strike in 1906, the myth of Cananea created an association between the working class, the Mexican nation, and the Mexican Revolution, which later provided legitimacy to the elite project of economic nationalism. After 1938, nationalist policy no longer advanced the social and economic well-being of the Mexican people overall but rather the private interests of elites. Mexicanization reduced the foreign control of mineral resources and introduced the private sector into the industry, but its failure to improve outcomes for Cananea's mineworkers frayed the bonds of the working class and the Mexican nation. The efforts of the Carlos Salinas administration to privatize the company in August 1989, further weakened such bonds. Salinas renegotiated the meanings of national sovereignty, deconstructing the broad framework of labor, the nation, and the Mexican Revolution established in the myth of Cananea.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).