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The Social and Developmental Dimensions of Drug Violence in Mexico 2006-2012

Gonzalez Ginocchio, Brenda (2018) The Social and Developmental Dimensions of Drug Violence in Mexico 2006-2012. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Drug violence in Mexico has claimed over 120,000 victims since it escalated in 2007. The government’s policy response has been driven by an emphasis on security and militarisation, but with a growing focus on social issues as part of its strategy since 2010. Given the government’s increasing emphasis on social and poverty issues in its drug enforcement strategy and the persistent high levels of drug violence, this thesis sets out to explore the under-researched social drivers of drug violence in order to understand the nature of the relationship between poverty, inequality and drug violence. In so doing, it introduces a distinctive framework for explaining the persistence of drug violence based on the argument that there is a misunderstood dimension in government policy frameworks, namely, the social and development contexts in which drug violence is embedded. The thesis contends that the government’s increasing focus on the social issues of drug violence is important, but its concentration on the issue of absolute poverty is misplaced. The thesis analysis finds that in terms of drug violence patterns, relative inequality seems to be more important than poverty. In order to develop this argument, the thesis uses a mixed methods approach to explore two sets of social conditions and trends in Mexico – poverty and inequality. In each case, the analysis uses quantitative indicators and qualitative interview material gathered during field research to explore the importance of each set of conditions in explaining the social dimensions of drug violence, and, in a second step, to assess their relative importance as explanatory factors. The quantitative analysis centres on indicators of development at the national and sub-national levels. The qualitative material, gathered from 23 semi-structured interviews with government officials, members of non-governmental organisations, former drug traffickers, academics and journalists draws from their experience to flesh out an understanding of the social and developmental context of drug violence within our case study of Monterrey. The findings of the thesis are counterintuitive and surprising, given dominant assumptions in the literature and policy debates about the relationship between drug violence, poverty and inequality. Contrary to these prevailing assumptions, the research findings indicate that the most drug-violent sub-national units are not the most impoverished, nor the most unequal. Instead, they frequently show the highest levels of development within their respective states, and throughout the country. The thesis draws on these findings to suggest a new way of understanding the relationship between violence and development, and specifically the dynamics of drug violence in Mexico. It suggests that such an understanding offers important wider policy implications for addressing the problem.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: multidimensional poverty, inequality, drug violence, drug trafficking organisations, Mexico, Monterrey, drugs
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Brenda Gonzalez Ginocchio
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2018 08:53
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2018 08:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21012

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