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Global South Powers in Transition

A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and South Africa


Edited By Deon Geldenhuys and Humberto González

Employing a novel collaborative transnational methodology, this ground-breaking book presents the first comprehensive and systematic comparison of Mexico and South Africa. Although geographically, historically and diplomatically far apart, Mexico and South Africa are ambitious and influential powers in the Global South and also experience wide-ranging domestic transitions. A binational team of 26 researchers from the two countries, all specialists in their respective disciplines, probe the transitions that Mexico and South Africa are undergoing in areas such as socio-cultural diversity, domestic politics, economic development, labour dynamics, social and territorial inequality, food security, crime and violence, and foreign relations. The detailed country studies allow the authors to identify striking similarities but also profound differences between the two societies. In so doing, the book helps to explain Mexico and South Africa to each other but also to the world at large.

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Indispensable and generous support from many quarters enabled us to take this book project from inception to completion.

The RISC research consortium served as incubator for the project: the idea of the initiative was born at a RISC conference and we could from the outset count on the steadfast support of Prof. Harlan Koff, co-founder and President of the consortium. Apart from offering sound advice, Harlan obtained funds for our research project and gave us the opportunity to have the study published in the RISC book series produced by Peter Lang (Brussels). Financial support was also provided by South Africa’s National Research Foundation; the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT), and Prof. Chris Landsberg’s SARChI unit for African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg. Thanks to these contributions we could hold two meetings of the authors involved, one in Guadalajara and the other in Johannesburg. Professors Virginia Garcia, Guillermo de la Peña and Robert Melville, all attached to Mexico’s Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), deserve our appreciation for their support and encouragement as we steered a rather extraordinary research endeavour through its various phases.

We are deeply indebted to the colleagues from Mexico and South Africa who participated in the project. All experts in their respective fields, they gave generously of their time and energy to contribute to the book. It was a protracted journey to complete the study, but they all...

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