The affective dimension of political violence: the case of a lynching in Mexico

Cruz Leiva, Melany V. (2020). The affective dimension of political violence: the case of a lynching in Mexico. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis analyses lynching in Mexico by seeking to answer two main questions: (i) Can lynching be interpreted as a form of political violence and, if so, (ii) What is its political meaning? I claim that the political dimensions of lynching as experience are underplayed due to an inadequate appreciation of the affective dimensions of violence. The way I address this omission in the literature is through a case study examination of lynching which demonstrates the importance of relating emotions to politics and violence. The lynching, which serves as my case, took place in San Juan Ixtayopan in Mexico City where, in 2004, two police officers were killed and one left with life changing injuries after the community decided that they were kidnapping children. This event is not isolated, as lynching has become an increasingly common phenomenon in the midst of the neoliberal transformation of Latin America. Nevertheless, predominant interpretations of lynching still examine the act reductively as simple criminality and wrongful societal behaviour. I scrutinise this by, first, addressing political violence through the key dimensions that I maintain characterise lynching: (i) the spectacle; (ii) the communal sense of (in)justice; (iii) confrontation with the state’s monopoly of violence. Second, I explore the notion of lynching as political violence by placing at the centre of my interpretation the role that the politics of emotions – particularly fear and anger – play in the interpretation of violence. In this sense, this thesis contributes to conceptual debates surrounding the affective dimension of political violence and to a deeper understanding of the under-examined empirical phenomena of lynching in Mexico.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: BECAS CHILE (Conicyt)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory


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