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State and Warfare in Mexico

The Case of Ayotzinapa

Alessandro Zagato

More than three years after the murder and kidnapping of students of the Normal Rural School Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa on 26 September 2014, a coherent and truthful explanation of what happened still needs to be determined. The logistics and decision-making processes put in place before, during, and after the attack raise questions about the nature of the Mexican state, its institutions, and its order/execution chain, as well as the character of the actors involved. Starting from this paradigmatic case, the aim of this article is to examine the current increase in violence in Mexico. The analysis takes into account the dispersed ‘clusters of power’—actual war machines—that have been developing in a situation of social and political decomposition brought about by a new cycle of capitalist expansion and accumulation.

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Robyn Singleton, Jacqueline Carter, Tatianna Alencar, Alicia Piñeirúa-Menéndez and Kate Winskell

A study of 50 narratives (16 male-authored, 34 female-authored, ages 13–16) contributed to a scriptwriting competition by Mexican youth from Oaxaca State was undertaken to understand youth social representations of hegemonic masculinity. Representations of masculinity manifested within three domains: substance use, companionate or abusive relationships, and economic roles. Positively portrayed male characters maintained companionate relationships and economically provided for loved ones. Rejection of abusive rural male characters who misuse financial resources occurred via condemnatory language and tragic outcomes. The young authors highlight financial control as a key element of Mexican masculinity, but this control goes unchallenged if dependents benefit. The rejection of a macho hegemonic masculinity in favor of a companionate relationship model mirrors historic trends in Mexico regarding migration, gender, class, and modernity.

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Casey Walsh

English abstract: This article explores the process of centralization of water resources by the Mexican nation-state between 1880 and 1940, and, in particular, how the postrevolutionary state facilitated, after 1920, the transference of control over the Topo Chico mineral springs from the local agrarian community to industrial bottling companies. Using archival evidence, it highlights the importance of science and law in this process and argues that centralization must be understood in terms of “primitive accumulation.” The article focuses on hot mineral springs, which provide a privileged window on centralization and primitive accumulation but are largely ignored in the historiography of water.

Spanish abstract: El artículo explora el proceso de centralización de los recursos hídricos por parte del Estado Mexicano entre 1880–1940, y particularmente analiza la manera en que después de 1920 el estado posrevolucionario facilitó la transferencia del control de las comunidades agrarias locales de los manantiales de Topo Chico, a las empresas embotelladoras industriales. Utilizando fuentes de archivo, el autor evidencia la importancia de la ciencia y el derecho en este proceso, y muestra que la centralización debe entenderse con base en la “acumulación primitiva”. Este artículo se centra en el estudio de las fuentes minerales termales, las cuales a pesar de ser una ventana privilegiada para la centralización y la acumulación primitiva, han sido ampliamente ignoradas por la historiografía hídrica.

French abstract: Cet article explore le processus de centralisation des ressources hydriques par l'Etat-nation mexicain entre 1880 et 1940, et en particulier la façon dont l'Etat postrévolutionnaire a facilité, à partir de 1920, le transfert du contrôle des sources hydriques de Topo Chico des communautés agraires locales aux entreprises d'embouteillage industriels. Fondé sur les sources documentaires archivistiques, il souligne l'importance de la science et du droit dans ce processus, et fait valoir que la centralisation doit être comprise en termes «d'accumulation primitive». L'article se concentre sur les sources d'eaux minérales chaudes, qui fournissent une fenêtre privilégiée sur la centralisation et l'accumulation primitive, mais sont largement ignorées dans l'historiographie de l'eau.

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Stephen P. Mumme, Oscar Ibáñez and Suzanne M. Till

English abstract: This article examines the state of binational multi-level water governance along the U.S.-Mexico border. Drawing on the well known multi-level governance (MLG) typology advanced by Hooghe and Marks (2003), the article pro files the Type I and Type II binational water institutions and programs now in place along the U.S.-Mexico border and examines their role in solving recent binational water disputes. The article shows that Type II MLG institutions make a modest contribution to the resolution of recent water conflicts on the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers, enriching capacity for achieving cooperative and sustainable solutions in U.S.-Mexico border water management. Supporting and strengthening the new Type II MLG water management institutions is likely to facilitate greater binational cooperation in managing internationally shared water resources along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo examina el estado de la gobernanza multi-nivel (GMN) binacional del agua a lo largo de la frontera México-Estados Unidos. Utilizando la tipología ampliamente conocida de Hooghe y Marks (2003), el texto per fila las instituciones binacionales del agua y sus programas Tipo I y Tipo II que se encuentran a lo largo de esta frontera, y examina el rol que juegan en la solución de recientes disputas binacionales por el agua. El artículo muestra como las instituciones Tipo II de GMN realizan una modesta contribución a la solución de recientes conflictos del agua en los ríos Grande y Colorado, enriqueciendo la capacidad para lograr soluciones sustentables en base a la cooperación para el manejo del agua. El apoyo y fortalecimiento de nuevas instituciones de manejo de agua Tipo II de GMN probablemente facilitará una mejor cooperación binacional en la administración de recursos hídricos compartidos a lo largo de la frontera México-Estados Unidos.

French abstract: Cet article fait état de la gouvernance multi-niveaux (GMN) et binationale de l'eau le long de la frontière entre les États-Unis et le Mexique. Ce e recherche s'aligne sur la typologie bien connue de la gouvernance multi-niveaux proposée par Hooghe et Marks (2003). Elle décrit les types I et II des institutions binationales de l'eau, ainsi que les programmes actuellement réalisés le long de la frontière américano-mexicaine, tout en examinant leur rôle dans la résolution des conflits binationaux récents portant sur l'eau. L'article montre que les institutions multiniveaux de type II apportent une modeste contribution à la résolution des conflits récents au sujet des fleuves Rio Grande et Colorado, avec pour conséquence que la gestion des eaux transfrontalières entre les États-Unis et le Mexique voit un renforcement de ses compétences pour apporter des solutions coopératives et durables. Encourager et renforcer les institutions de gestion de l'eau de nouveau type II de la gouvernance multiniveaux est à même de faciliter une plus grande coopération binationale en termes de gestion des ressources aquatiques internationales, le long de la frontière entre les États-Unis et le Mexique.

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Alejandro Miranda

Current scholarly work on mobilities has focused largely on how practices of mobility produce space, place, and landscape through their enactment and representation. There has been significantly less attention to the study of how social practices move, that is, how socially recognized ways of doing are produced through mobility. Although the literature of various disciplines generally agrees that practices are on the move at different scales, the mobilities of practice have yet to be developed explicitly. This article contributes to this emerging area of research by examining the case of music making. Drawing on ethnographic research, it analyzes how son jarocho, a musical tradition from southeast Mexico, is currently diffused and re-created across communities of practitioners in the United States. In doing so, the processes of diffusion, reproduction, and transformation of social practice are dependent on, and reciprocally related to, the movement produced during performances.

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Observing Protest Organizations as Social Systems

The Popular Front Francisco Villa’s Media Diffusion Articulation of Political Subjectivities among Workers

Edgar Everardo Guerra Blanco

This article draws on social systems theory to explore a key phenomenon in social movements: organizations. The Frente Popular Francisco Villa (PFFV)—an organization related to the Urban Popular Movement in Mexico—is used as a case study. The research focuses on the internal dynamics that have steered this organization and propelled internal changes in some of its key aspects, especially media diffusion and propaganda strategy. Indeed, the media strategy employed by the organization have changed during the 30-yearhistory of the PFFV, not only on the basis of the programmatic goals and objectives of the organization, but also as a consequence of internal and external dynamics beyond the control of members and leaders. The main objectives of this analysis are threefold. First, I intend to uncover the main processes and structures that regulate the PFFV´s internal dynamic and changes over time. Second, I aim to analyze the relationships between these changes and the requirements of several organizations and actors in the environment of the PFFV. Finally, I aim to explore the impact of broader processes (such as the political system or the culture) on the organization's internal changes.

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Victimización en México

Un análisis de equilibrio general

Sandra Edith Medellín Mendoza and Joana Cecilia Chapa Cantú

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: There exists few studies on Mexico related to research of the factors involved in the decision-making process of individuals when choosing whether to be a law-abiding citizen or a criminal. From the perspective of members of criminal markets—i.e., victims, felons, and the government—this work explains under a general equilibrium model how the delinquency rate for felonies, such as theft, in the various Mexican states function as structural parameters for wages, taxes, police reliability, and legal penalties. The results suggest that, in an environment of low accusation and punishment, the only variable in this model which has a real effect in reducing crime are monetary penalties, due to the fact that the felon must face this kind of penalty once accused, captured, and jailed.

Spanish abstract: Existen pocos estudios para el caso mexicano donde se investiga cuáles son los factores que intervienen en la toma de decisiones de los individuos al elegir entre ser criminal o no. Desde la perspectiva de los integrantes del mercado del crimen, esto es, víctimas, delincuentes y gobierno, este trabajo explica bajo un modelo de equilibrio general, cómo responde la tasa de delincuencia para delitos como el robo de las entidades federativas mexicanas ante cambios en los parámetros estructurales como salarios, impuestos, productividad de la policía y las penas consideradas en el marco legal. Los resultados encontrados sugieren que en un contexto de bajas tasas de denuncia y castigo, la única variable de política que en el marco de este modelo tiene efecto para reducir el crimen son las penas monetarias, ya que estas las enfrenta el criminal una vez que es denunciado, capturado y encarcelado.

French abstract: Rares sont les études au Mexique qui s'interrogent sur les facteurs liés au processus de prise de décision chez les individus concernant leur choix de devenir ou non des criminels. Fondé sur les opinions des agents du crime organisé, dont les victimes, les criminels et le gouvernement, cet article analyse sur la base d'un modèle d'équilibre général, la manière dont le taux de délinquance, à l'instar des détournements des fonds publics dans des régions mexicaines, réagit aux changement des paramètres structurels tels que les salaires, les impôts, l'efficience de la police et la fiabilité des sanctions dans le cadre juridique. Les résultats suggèrent que dans un contexte pareil marqué par un faible taux de plaintes et de sanctions, la seule variable de politiques susceptibles de réduire efficacement la criminalité, sont les sanctions pécuniaires, auxquelles les criminels seraient systématiquement confrontés en cas de dénonciation, d'arrestation ou d'emprisonnement.

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Simoneta Negrete-Yankelevich, Israel Portillo, Guadalupe Amescua-Villela and Alejandra Núñez-de la Mora

*Full forum is in Spanish

English abstract: Interview with the coordinators of the DeMano project, who work with multidisciplinary perspectives of food insecurity in milpa-producing families in Ocotepec, Mexico. We talk about their achievements and the challenges for programs oriented to developing skills for both raising children and women’s empowerment; sustainable production in milpas and orchards; and human ecology and maternal and child health. The great challenge of Ocotepec’s great challenge, like other rural communities in Mexico is to overcome productive, social and economic instability to revalue and care for natural resources and human capital, moving towards a self-sufficient and self-managed vision. De Mano contributes through science, providing feedback on problems in the fields, and fostering collective responsibility for the biotic resources that feed families.

Spanish abstract: Entrevista a las coordinadoras del proyecto DeMano, quienes trabajan multidisciplinariamente temas de inseguridad alimentaria en familias milperas de Ocotepec, México. Platicamos sobre logros y retos en sus programas de desarrollo de habilidades para la crianza y empoderamiento de mujeres; producción sostenible en milpas y huertos; y ecología humana y salud materno-infantil. El gran reto de Ocotepec y otras comunidades rurales en México es superar la situación de inestabilidad productiva, social y económica para revalorar y cuidar los recursos naturales y capital humano, transitando hacia una visión autosuficiente y autogestiva. DeMano realiza ciencia en continua retroalimentación con la problemática del campo, promoviendo un sentido más amplio de comunidad y de responsabilidad colectiva de los recursos bióticos que dan de comer a las familias de México.

French abstract: Entretien avec les coordinateurs du projet DeMano qui travaillent de façon multidisciplinaire sur les thèmes de l’insécurité alimentaire dans les familles de producteurs de maïs d’Ocotepec au Mexique. Nous parlons de leurs réalisations et des défi s qu’ils rencontrent dans leurs programmes de développement de compétences pour les enfants et l’autonomisation des femmes, de la production durable des champs de maïs et des vergers, de l’écologie humaine et de la santé maternoinfantile. Le grand défi d’Ocotepec et des autres communautés rurales du Mexique est de surmonter la situation d’instabilité productive, sociale et économique pour réévaluer et prendre soin des ressources naturelles et du capital humain, en privilégiant l’évolution vers l’autosuffisance et l’autogestion. DeMano contribue à travers la science à rétroalimenter les problématiques de terrain, en promouvant un sens plus aigu de la communauté et de la responsabilité collective face aux ressources biotiques qui nourrissent la famille.

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Social cohesion beyond borders

Does management of mining resources promote social cohesion and regional integration? Lessons from Canada and Mexico

Angeles Mendoza Sammet

English abstract: This contribution analyzes whether the transboundary use of mineral resources by Canadian companies contributes to local and regional cohesion. The analysis is based on documental reviews, a field visit, and conversations with stakeholders of Canadian mining projects in Mexico. The results strongly suggest that, despite the bene fits that are advertised in the discourses of the Canadian and Mexican governments, this economic relationship is not fostering social cohesion as would be expected. Rather than helping dispossessed sectors of Mexican society satisfy their basic needs, the lack of social responsibility on the part of national governments and some transnational mining companies is generating numerous environmental and social impacts and is resulting in violations of human and indigenous people's rights. This situation, however, is fostering social cohesion through shared values among dispossessed communities in Mexico, and between them and various civic, human rights, and environmental organizations in Canada.

Spanish abstract: Esta contribución analiza de qué forma el desarrollo de recursos mineros en México por empresas canadienses influye en la cohesión social local y regionalmente. El análisis se basa en revisión documental, visitas de campo y conversaciones con informantes clave. Los resultados fuertemente sugieren que esta relación comercial no está contribuyendo a mejorar la cohesión social como sería de esperarse si la minería contribuyera al desarrollo sustentable según lo promocionan los gobiernos de México y Canadá. En vez de contribuir a reducir la pobreza, se han generado diversos impactos sociales y ambientales debido a la falta de responsabilidad social que prevalece en el sector minero. Estos incluyen violaciones de derechos humanos y gentes indígenas. Sin embargo, estas consecuencias negativas están favoreciendo la cohesión social entre las comunidades afectadas por la minería en México y las organizaciones civiles en Canadá que están ejerciendo presión en Canadá para que haya cambios en el sistema político y legal para asegurar que las empresas canadienses operen de manera social y ambientalmente responsable.

French abstract: Ce e contribution entend voir de quelle manière l'utilisation transfrontalière des ressources minérales par des entreprises canadiennes contribuent à la cohésion locale et régionale. L'analyse se fonde sur l'examen des documents, une visite sur le terrain, et les interviews menées avec les parties prenantes des projets miniers canadiens au Mexique. Les résultats suggèrent fortement que, malgré les avantages formulés dans le discours des gouvernements canadien et mexicain, ce e relation économique ne conduit pas à la cohésion sociale comme on pourrait s'y attendre. Plutôt que d'aider les secteurs déshérités de la société mexicaine à satisfaire leurs besoins de base, le manque de responsabilité sociale de la part des deux gouvernements nationaux et certaines entreprises minières transnationales produit de nombreux impacts environnementaux et sociaux qui se traduisent par des violations des droits de l'homme des peuples indigènes. Ce e situation, cependant, favorise la cohésion sociale à travers des valeurs partagées entre les communautés dépossédées au Mexique, et entre eux et diff érentes organisations civiles défenseurs des droits de l'homme et environnementaux au Canada.

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Mercedes González de la Rocha and Agustín Escobar Latapí

For as long as national records have been kept, Indigenous rural girls in Mexico have spent the least amount of time in school (aside from some people with disabilities). An innovative social program was designed in the 1990s that aimed to stop the intergenerational transmission of poverty through the provision of cash transfers (higher for girls than for boys) to families, conditional upon their children’s attendance at school and health clinics. We set out to assess whether or not the program had closed these gender and ethnicity gaps and found that it did narrow substantially pre-existing inequalities among rural indigenous poor girls and their families and, in some instances, reversed them. We recognize that the program does not eliminate other structural forces discriminating against indigenous Mexican girls and that prolonged education is an instrument for mobility only if these other forces are counterbalanced by more comprehensive social strategies.