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On Bullfights and Baseball: An Example of Interaction of Social Institutions1

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The passive-aggressive component of the Mexican modal personality can be traced to the dominant and harshly punitive role of the father and to the general authoritarian nature of the Mexican culture. This passive-aggressiveness is perpetuated in the macho pattern of the Mexican male, and in the "martyr" pattern of the Mexican female. Any acting out of the resultant hostility to authority must be carried out in spheres safely distant from that authority's immediate control. The bullfight is seen to depict, symbolically, the power of the father, the subtle demands of the mother, and the fear of the child. Unlike the family situation, the awesome authority does not prevail, but rather is dominated and destroyed through the courage and daring of the matador. He, however, acting for the spectator, must accomplish this hostile act in a framework of "respect" for authority, and with a studied passiveness in and control of movement. By contrast, the "intellectualization" component of the Anglo modal personality can be traced to the superficial ethic of "equality" among family members and to the general intellectualized nature of highly urbanized societies. The attempt to mute authority by a pseudo-philosophy of togetherness, when authority is in fact assumed by the father, the mother, and by the society, engenders a vagueness in role definitions, confusion in behavioral expectations, and an intellectualization of the resultant of the resultant conflict. Hostility

Affiliations: 1: The Menninger Foundation; 2: University of Arizona


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