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 the journal Victims & Offenders.
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
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