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Constructing Hegemony: The Latin American Boom and the Book Industries of Spain and Mexico, 1963-1967



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Saizar, Consuelo 


This thesis analyses the process of construction of hegemony in the Spanish-language publishing world in the 1960s. It compares the book industries of Spain and Mexico to understand how the Spanish rather than the Mexican industry established itself as the main one of their shared language. The empirical research design consisted of interviews, historical sociology, bibliographical and archival research, and cultural, social, and political analysis. The context thus compared is one in which a group of outstanding authors and other actors, such as an editor and a literary agent, fully exercised their agency within their particular circumstances, often going against and beyond them. For the first time in history, Spain’s publishing industry made it possible, mostly from Barcelona, for a small group of Latin American authors to become professional writers and for their work to reach international audiences and be translated into different languages. This set of events became known as the “Latin American Boom.” This study’s empirical findings include that the Boom authors opted to face censorship under the Franco regime in Spain, rather than aiming to develop their literary careers in the precarious, inefficient publishing systems in place in Latin America at the time. This work draws on Laclau and Mouffe’s theory to build the argument that diverse factors — namely: Colonial history, cultural public policies and industrial models, networking among social actors, and authors’ agency of professionalisation — articulated to establish the hegemony of Spain’s book industry. In doing so, this dissertation engages with two theoretical debates: those of hegemony construction and that of whether hegemony belongs solely to the realm of national societies or whether it could be built globally. This dissertation, therefore, contributes to the sociology of culture and publishing by revealing how the construction of cultural hegemony worked in the Latin American Boom phenomenon.





McPherson, Ella


Latin American Boom, Sociology of Publishing, Cultural publishing, Hegemony, Spain, Mexico, Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carmen Balcells, Publishing Industry


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge