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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Practicing violence : the war of independence in the Mixteca Schaefer, Timo


In this thesis I investigate the impact of collective violence on local political culture in the Mixteca mountains in Oaxaca during the Mexican War of Independence. I first analyze a number of stories and rumors about the war in Central Mexico that circulated in the Mixteca before the outbreak of hostilities in the region itself for what they reveal about the national imaginings that would condition the local experience of war. I then examine the anti-insurgent campaign of one particular royalist militia company and its fluid relations with local townsmen and villagers, who were the primary pool of new recruits for the company as well as its potential enemies and victims, during the summer of 1814. Coinciding with the rise of a discourse of republican citizenship in Mexico, I show how participation in the militia provided a way for Mixtecan inhabitants of experiencing the new political category ‘citizen’ in practical terms, and thereby established participation in organized violence as a privileged nexus in new articulations between local and national political processes. The overall argument is that armed bands operating in the Mixteca created new institutional spaces connecting local and higher-level political structures and activating practices of citizenship that were premised on participation in military violence.

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