Anticrime Protests in Mexico: Emotions, Repertories and Social Organizations

Friday, 20 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Criminal violence in Mexico has been on the rise in the last decade. In reaction to it, civil society has taken many actions, street protests being one of them. Anticrime protests do not challenge authorities only, but armed criminals also. When victims are found, and reported by the press, it is not easy to tell who was the perpetrator of violence, civilians or public servants, which authorities are colluded with criminals, and which are not. It is also hard to tell if the victims of violence were innocent bystanders or gang members fighting among themselves for markets, weapons, money or drugs. Therefore, anticrime protests, face steeper collective action problems that the ones studied by the sociology of collective action, protests, and social movements. They have to overcome the fear, the spiral of silence, additional risks and framing uncertainties related with the diagnosis of the situation, the extent of organized crime, corruption, and the labelling of victims as “collateral damage” or as straightforward “criminals”. In order to investigate the amount of anticrime protests and the tactics they use, I created a novel database of anticrime protests in Mexico between 2007 and 2014. According to my data, in this period there were 2,170 anticrime protests in Mexico. Only 106 of those protests were violent. Furthermore, I classified 39 different types of collective performances grouped into four major tactics: symbolic, violent, disruptive and conventional. Most of the violent protests were related to the 43 students who suffered forced disappearance on September 26th, 2014, in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. Through multivariate regression models I test the determinants of anticrime protests’ tactics in Mexico. My findings contribute to the literature on repertories of collective action, resource mobilization and anticrime protests.