hi the last decades, the studies of 19th century Latin America political cultures have been dominated by two discourses on caste and race and their role in the nation building process, the other bent on finding a public sphere and the notions of citizenship that permeate it My dissertation connects the concerns of both approaches. It does so, by way of an extended case study of changing civil society in Lima, Peru (1780-1871), and drawing upon Nobert Elias' state formation theory of the Civilizing Process and historical critical interpretations of the Habermasean public sphere. The 'missing link' between colonial caste society and the republican public sphere, I would argue, was the consolidation of a new civic color line in Peruvian society. A line that was the consequence of both: the partial un-making of colonial legal racial domination by the republican state and the incorporation of middle-urban groups of different ethnic backgrounds in Lima's civil society. Rather than phenotypic features alone, elite groups, during mid-to late 19th century were forced to rebuild their racial hierarchies around new forms of sociability and novel forms of urban spatial integration.