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Violence, Coercion, and State-Making in Twentieth-Century MexicoThe Other Half of the Centaur$
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Wil G. Pansters

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781589

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781589.001.0001

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New Violence, Insecurity, and the State

New Violence, Insecurity, and the State

Comparative Reflections on Latin America and Mexico

(p.255) Chapter Eleven New Violence, Insecurity, and the State
Violence, Coercion, and State-Making in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Kees Koonings

Stanford University Press

Over the past twenty years or so, Latin America has experienced a “new” pattern of violence shaped by persistent social inequality and exclusion in the region. Compared to the old violence, however, this new pattern of violence is less openly political and more “economic” and “social.” Paradoxically, it coexists with citizenship and formally democratic regimes and is employed by armed actors and “violence brokers” (for example, gangs, criminal organizations, vigilantes) as a flexible resource to attain goals such as economic gains or social status and control, rather than to secure formal political or state power. This chapter examines the nature of contemporary violence in Latin America and how new violence has ended Mexico's so-called “exceptionality.” It first considers the concept of new violence and the main perpetrators of violence in present-day Latin America. It then discusses three scenarios of new violence: democratic counterinsurgency, violence in illiberal democracies, and urban criminal violence in nearly consolidated democracies. Using this typology, the chapter analyzes contemporary violence in Mexico.

Keywords:   violence, Latin America, exceptionality, counterinsurgency, illiberal democracies, gangs, criminal organizations, vigilantes, violent brokers

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