1st Edition

Beyond Drugs, Smuggling and Trafficking
Violence, Victimization and Community Action in Mexico’s Criminal Landscape

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 28, 2021
ISBN 9780367714970
September 28, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
117 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Graphic depictions of crime in Mexico abound in the global imagination, fueled not merely by media representations, but also by an abundant body of scholarship that reproduces grotesque, simplistic characterizations of Mexico’s people, cities and towns as crime-ridden and almost inherently violent. These representations, however, often lack evidence and forgo important contextual analyses, not to mention fail to incorporate the perspectives of its actors in the research development process.

This collection of essays shows how community-based research efforts to examine practices like kidnapping, migrant smuggling, human trafficking, sex work and citizen-led forensics in Mexico can effectively correct methodological and conceptual gaps present in Mexico’s dominant organized crime narrative, while providing effective mechanisms to inform academic and policy debates. This easy-to-read volume provides a much-needed re-assessment of Mexico’s organized crime rhetoric, and also outlines a pathway for those interested in developing critical empirical research on illicit and criminalized practices.

The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Victims & Offenders.

Table of Contents


Gabriella Sanchez and Sheldon X. Zhang

1. Women’s Involvement in Migrant Kidnapping in Mexico: A Gender Perspective

Caitlyn Yates and Stephanie Leutert

2. Being a Sex Worker and Migrant in Times of Trafficking: Experiences from the Mexico (Chiapas)–Guatemala Border

Juliana Vanessa Maldonado Macedo

3. Poverty, Aspirations, and Organized Crime Involvement among Adolescent Men in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

Cirenia Chávez Villegas

4. Lists, Maps, and Bones: The Untold Journeys of Citizen-led Forensics in Mexico

Arely Cruz-Santiago

5. In Their Own Words: Boys, Girls and Adolescents as Facilitators of Migrant Smuggling on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Gabriella Sanchez and Sheldon X. Zhang

6. Victimization, Offending and Resistance in Mexico: Toward Critical Discourse and Grounded Methodologies in Organized Crime Research

Gabriella Sanchez


Riikka Puttonnen and Flavia Romiti

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Gabriella Sanchez is socio-cultural anthropologist researching the everyday interactions among people on the migration pathway and has written extensively on migrant smuggling dynamics.

Sheldon X. Zhang is Chair and Professor at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies of the University of Massachusetts Lowell.