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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pacific[ations] : security, nonviolence, and the 'war on drugs' in Mérida, Yucatán, 2007-2012 Patchin, Paige M.


Drug-related conflict has perhaps been the central question of Mexican politics since President Felipe Calderón initiated the "war on drugs" in 2006. From 2007-2012, military and police presence in everyday life deepened across the country, and tens of thousands of people were killed. It in opposition to this scene of extreme violence that Mérida, Yucatán was relentlessly celebrated as the most secure city in Mexico, the "City of Peace." Through interviews with government officials and activists in Mérida, this thesis explores reverberations between i) the politics of Mérida's continuing declaration of nonviolence; ii) the mobilization of the abstract concept of security; and iii) the reconfiguration of state power under the "war on drugs." Chapter 2 explains the policies and practices enacted by Mexican and U.S. governments under the anti-drug banner. The ways in which life and landscapes in Yucatán were re-organized around protection against drug-related conflict is the subject of Chapter 3. This, what I term securitization, attempted to bring the circulation of bodies, drugs, and rumors in Mérida under control for the sake of the security and reproduction of the state. Chapter 4 explores the relationship between securitization, the story of nonviolence, and colonial identity categories. Here, I argue that the "City of Peace" is premised on the formation of pacified state subjects. These storylines converge in my central argument: constructions of nonviolence in Mérida from 2007-2012 were bound up with many different forms of state violence, ranging from the use of brute force to the quiet restriction of everyday conduct.

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