The Construction of Indigenous Suspects: Militarization and the Gendered and Ethnic Dynamics of Human Rights Abuses in Southern Mexico

Citation:

Stephen, Lynn. 1999. “The Construction of Indigenous Suspects: Militarization and the Gendered and Ethnic Dynamics of Human Rights Abuses in Southern Mexico.” American Ethnologist 26 (4): 822–42.

Author: Lynn Stephen

Abstract:

I use the tools of ethnography to analyze the gendered and ethnic patterns of militarization and torture in southern Mexico. Such patterns replay gendered and sexual stereotypes of indigenous men and women as captured in national myth and vision. While such an analysis is useful for Mexico, it draws from and is applicable to other situations of political violence and provides a way of understanding the underlying culture wars—signaled by crises of representation at the margins of states—being waged to redefine nations. I argue that the insights of anthropological analysis (particularly historical and cultural analysis) are key in clarifying the rationales official for treating some people differently than others, and thus constructing them as suspects vulnerable to political violence and human rights abuses.

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Analysis, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism, Rights, Human Rights, Torture, Violence Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 1999

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