The Dos Bocas Oil Well: Science, Ideology, Memory and Discourse uri icon


  • In this paper, we recover the memory of a catastrophe: the Dos Bocas oil well fire in the Huasteca region of Mexico in 1908. The Dos Bocas event is described, contextually analyzed, and identified as discursive material of different groups of influence and/or power, in order to shed light on the situation that existed in Mexico and the expectations held in relation to the role that science, technology and the exploitation of natural resources should play in the country's development. For this purpose, we first present what was the official philosophy of the regime in regards to a political agenda as well as an educational ideal. Subsequently, presenting a condensed picture of what were the beginnings of oil in Mexico, the role of foreign investment and the socioeconomic and ecological impacts. Once having established the context of the moment, we examine the Dos Bocas event and the ways in which it was handled politically, along with the ideological and scientific factors operating at that time. Finally, we address the various meanings and interpretations of the event, identifying collective forms of understanding and appropriation of the experience; found memories that will allow us to explore how the evocation of a singular event, in this case a catastrophic one, becomes part of the hegemonic discourse on the role of oil in Mexican modernity.

Publication date

  • December 1, 2016