Mothers, Warriors and Lords: Gender(ed) Cartographies of the US War on Drugs in Latin America

Citation:

Telles, Ana Clara. 2019. “Mothers, Warriors and Lords: Gender(ed) Cartographies of the US War on Drugs in Latin America.” Contexto Internacional 41 (1): 15-38.

Author: Ana Clara Telles

Abstract:

This paper aims to offer a feminist, Latin-American reading on the gender representations that constitute the discourse on the US war on drugs in Latin America. Drawing upon the feminist literature on international security, this article explores some of the nuances of the US war-on-drugs discourse when it comes to gender. It argues that, although a gendered discourse has been constantly present in US official discourse, it has visibly changed in character as the USA’s antidrug policies became increasingly internationalized, militarized, and oriented by a ‘supply-side approach.’ Once deployed through the feminization of drug consumption as a moral degradation of the nation’s social body, US war-on-drugs discourse perceptibly changed to encompass a process of hyper-masculinization of the figure of the US drug warrior, supported by subordinate masculinities and femininities represented by the subaltern, feminized Latin American drug warriors, and the ruthless, hyper-aggressive drug lords. Ultimately, the gender(ed) cartographies of the USA’s war-on-drugs discourse work as conditions of possibility for framing the war on drugs as the only ‘solution’ to the ‘drug problem’ and reaffirm the incessant search for sovereignty that has as its ultimate goal the total control, domination and vigilance of human interaction with psychoactive substances: attributes of a hegemonic state masculinity par excellence. Through gendered (in)security performances, the state defends not only its ‘physical’ borders from external threats, but also its own frontiers of possibility.

Keywords: war on drugs, gender studies, gender representations, Latin America, illicit drugs

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Trafficking, Drug Trafficking Regions: Americas, Central America, South America

Year: 2019

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