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Cappon, J. (1977). Masochism: A Trait in the Mexican National Character. Psychoanal. Rev., 64(2):163-171.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Review, 64(2):163-171

Masochism: A Trait in the Mexican National Character

Jorge Cappon, M.A.

In this paper I will try to describe the masochistic traits in the Mexican national character and trace them to historical and social conditions. Then I will describe the structure of the Mexican family, focusing on the genetic factors that have perpetuated these traits through generations.

My conclusions, of course, have limitations, since in attempting to describe a whole nation there is always the danger of denying or putting aside the individual. The dynamic character of an individual is unique, a result not only of the society in which he lives, but of a series of complex conditions and experiences where maternal and paternal roles in early life are crucial in early development. Nevertheless, psychoanalytic theory can be applied in investigating why certain groups, whether racial, religious, or national, behave the way they do at a certain time.

Fromm6 asserts that there is a character structure common to the majority of the members of any social group or class; he has called that social character. This concept of social character does not refer to the highly individualized and unique character structure of a person, but to a character matrix, a syndrome of character traits that has developed as an adaptation to the economic, social, and cultural conditions common to the group. Likewise Maccoby8 writes that the people of a nation, whatever their individual characterological differences, share a nucleus of motives formed by common needs and experiences that can be called a national character.

At the end of 1519 Hernando Cortes started the conquest of Mexico.

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