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Spring 2012 - 61930 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Whither the Mexican Political System & Public Policy: The 2012 Elections & the Return of the PRI?

Instructor(s): Ward, Peter M.
Unique Number: 61930
Day & Time: M 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.316/350
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.


Section Description

Since the 1990s the Mexican political system has experienced a dramatic transition from the hegemonic PRI-dominated structure of 70 years, to that of a plural and consolidating democracy. Since 1997, and especially since the PAN’s historic presidential victory in 2000 and retention of the presidency in 2006, the Mexican political system has struggled to recast and strengthen its political institutions and practices: across the three branches (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary); in the day-to-day practices of governance and public administration; in the modernization of technology and information processing; in press and media freedom, and investigative reporting; and in reforms to the criminal justice system. However, many of these institutions have come under threat as rising insecurity and violence associated with President Calderón’s decision to face down the violence and insecurity born of the drug cartels and associated gangs has come to threaten the democratic consolidation process. Now, in 2011, it looks as though the PRI is ready to bounce back and will win the 2012 federal elections. Will it? Why? And what are the implications for a return of the PRI for Mexico’s democratic future and for US-Mexico relations?

This course will examine the reforms and the changing nature of governance and public policy making in Mexico, as well as evaluate the lessons learned from the Fox and Calderón administrations as the country heads into the next election cycle in July 2012.  In particular we will examine how the respective parties are seeking to mobilize and frame their agendas in order to win elections, and we will assess how citizens in Mexico currently measure and evaluate public policy performance at the federal, state, and local levels. The aim is to better understand the dynamics of the Mexican political system and the nature of the policy making process.

While the focus will be upon Mexico, we will also explore how political values are formed in Mexico, and how these change among Mexican origin populations in the USA, and how they appear to be shaping our own political culture and electoral dynamics as the USA, also, prepares for presidential elections in 2012.

A reading knowledge of Spanish is desirable, but not required for this course. Classes will comprise primarily seminar presentations and discussions led by the students themselves, built around course readings and class notes that will be circulated on Blackboard. In addition, I will be inviting several senior scholars and public policy officials from all three principal parties to visit campus during the semester to inform our discussions and debate the various scenarios of Mexico’s political future and its implications for US-Mexico relations.

Student assessment will be based upon two term papers that analyze institutional change and policy outcomes; the preparation of an opinion editorial relating to the forthcoming elections, and participation in class discussions.

This course is offered by the LBJ School and ILAS (LAS 381.006; SOC 395D.005)