Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Involucrado en algo: negación y estigma en la “guerra contra las drogas” de México

Moon, Claire ORCID: 0000-0003-2884-7687 and Rangel, Javier Treviño (2023) Involucrado en algo: negación y estigma en la “guerra contra las drogas” de México. Revista Colombiana de Sociologia, 46 (1). 327 - 358. ISSN 0120-159X

[img] Text (Moon_involved-in-something--published) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (351kB)

Identification Number: 10.15446/rcs.v46n1/95126


This article answers, empirically, the question once posed by Stan Cohen: “why the ‘reaction’ to the suffering and pain of others particularly the suffering and pain resulting from what we call ‘human rights violations’? so often does it take the form of denial, evasion, passivity, indifference, justification or collusion?”. Our context is the war on drugs in Mexico. Since 2006, this “war” has claimed the lives of around 240 000 Mexican citizens and has disappeared nearly 60 000. Perpetrators include organized crime gangs and state security forces. Violence is ubiquitous and widely known. Most people are at risk. Our study is based on qualitative interviews and focus groups with 68 “ordinary Mexicans” from five different cities with varying levels of violence. It studies the proximity of the participants to the victims and the psychological defense mechanisms they use to deal with the proximity of violence. We found that 62 of our participants knew, directly or indirectly, one or more people affected. We also found that the main justification or defense mechanism that people use to deal with violence is to assume that the victims “were involved in something” (drug trafficking or organized crime) and, therefore, “deserved what happened to them”. This echoes the dominant official discourses about violence. We argue that the discourse of engagement is a discourse of denial that plays three main roles in a highly violent society, in which practically no one is immune: to mask state violence, to stigmatize the victims, and to authorize the passivity of observers (bystanders). In this way we show how official denial and individual denial converge, coexist, reproduce and play a central role in perpetuating violence.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2023 14:57
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 05:39

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics