Mexico: Explaining violence and social disorganization in Ciudad Juarez. Destabilizing factors in urban settings

The most visible manifestations of urban violence encompass physical and psychological harm against persons – from homicide to other forms of victimization. For more than a century social scientists have also studied the ways in which violence reconfigures social and spatial relations and triggers cycles of insecurity and fear that span generations. 104039

There is also evidence that “structural” forms of urban violence arising from the degradation of urban economies and austerity measures can equally contribute to a “break down” in social life leading to new forms of violence. An especially disconcerting manifestation of urban violence is found in Mexico.

In just a few years, Mexico’s war on drugs has claimed between 30,000 and 60,000 lives with most of these intentional deaths concentrated in the northern states. The country’s national homicide rate rapidly increased over the past few years from 8.1 homicides per 100,000 in 2007 to 23.7 homicides per 100,000 in 2011. The homicide rate supposedly declined, albeit marginally, to 22 per 100,000 in 2012. The overall escalation in violence was linked to deployment of more than 60,000 soldiers by former President Calderon and subsequent inter-cartel violence. What is especially unsettling is the appalling brutality, the symbolic and ritualized nature of violence, often intended to send messages to secure territory and expand influence. SEE MORE…

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