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10283 - Narcocorrido: Cultural manifestation of modern cynicism and value crisis in transnational capitalism

The traditional Mexican folklore song type Corrido has been subject to historic transformation, especially over the past 30 years. Since then, the evolving subgenre of Narcocorrido has enjoyed rising popularity on both sides of the Mexican-US border. The lyrical description of the daily difficulties and risks of a drug trafficker changed into a form of glorification and mystification of wealth, status and desirable lives of drug lords. The current escalation of violence in connection with criminal organizations of transnational drug trade led to an ambiguous image of artists and the industry involved. By censuring public performance and local radio transmission, Mexican authorities even opted for repressive measures in the struggle over social control in the cultural arena. Gramsci's concept of hegemony is not only useful for analyzing political change but represents also a valuable tool for cultural investigation in order to assess strategies attempted to form hegemonic blocs. The lyrical phenomenon of Narcocorridos is rather derived from a crisis of values within the capitalist order than representing an opposing external force that intends to undermine the existing structure. Expert interviews within the music industry in Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Southern California, examine the promoted values of the narco-culture and the variable 'trust' as a major driver for consent within the civil society. Additionally, the concept of cynicism shows how processing societal deficiencies in the form of folklore induces change and how such anomalies are absorbed for individual benefits.

Keywords: Cultural hegemony, Cynicism, Mexico, Narcocorrido

Author: Wolfesberger, Philipp (University of Vienna, Austria / Österreich)

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