PurposeFrom a micro-macro perspective, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the welfare-related criteria reported by the heads of political parties’ youth wings in Mexico, the implicit and explicit religious beliefs that inform some of those criteria and the (Foucauldian) pastoral genealogy of both the criteria and beliefs.Design/methodology/approachThe paper draws on qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with a group of 32 heads of three political parties’ youth wings in Mexico. The interpretation of the data builds on a previous genealogical analysis of Foucauldian pastoralism in colonial Mexico.FindingsThe respondents’ criteria on a state that should aim at procuring “material-spiritual” and “material-transcendental” types of well-being and politics as “help,” are partly informed by religious values. Such criteria and religious values have been partly constructed out of a pastoralism which was deployed during the Spanish colonial regime and included “temporal” and “spiritual” teleologies of government and the practice of charity as (self-)governmental technique.Originality/valueThe literature on welfare/social policies of Latin American countries like Mexico tends not to problematize issues of secularity other than the religions’ undesirable intrusions in the political field. Governmentality studies also tend to bypass Foucault’s discussion of pastoralism. An empirical study of the pastoral genealogy of contemporary political rationalities in a constitutionally secular country such as Mexico can prompt further research on the gaps above and comparative analyses of pastoral and welfare governmentalities across Latin American and other world regions.
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 4, 2017
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