The «War on Drugs», militarization, institutional and criminal violence in Mexico have caused a serious humanitarian crisis, that has seen over 112.000 disappearances of people from 2006 to 2023. In response to this tragedy, a human rights movement has arisen, composed mainly by relatives of disappeared that have grouped into Victims’ Relatives Organizations (VRO), claiming truth and justice for their beloved ones. Despite having no previous experience in social activism, shared networks or political affinities, some of these groups have managed to build a strong collective identity, achieving important results in terms of public policies, laws against enforced disappearances, consciousness- raising. Drawing on social movement’s literature and thanks to field research carried out in Mexico through the analysis of a single VRO named «United Forces for our Disappeared in Coahuila and Mexico», this article aims to analyse the collective identity formation and boundary work of the group, that is the process through which participants create identity boundaries, developing a sense of who they are and who they are not. I argue that the comprehension of the boundary work of this kind of groups helps to better understand how individuals and organizations create unity from diversity in order to stimulate collective actions and social mobilizations in high-risk contexts.

Building unity from diversity in the middle of violence. Collective identity construction of Victims’ Relatives Organizations in Mexico / T. Aureliani. - In: POLIS. - ISSN 1120-9488. - 37:2(2023 Aug), pp. 293-324. [10.1424/107757]

Building unity from diversity in the middle of violence. Collective identity construction of Victims’ Relatives Organizations in Mexico

T. Aureliani
2023

Abstract

The «War on Drugs», militarization, institutional and criminal violence in Mexico have caused a serious humanitarian crisis, that has seen over 112.000 disappearances of people from 2006 to 2023. In response to this tragedy, a human rights movement has arisen, composed mainly by relatives of disappeared that have grouped into Victims’ Relatives Organizations (VRO), claiming truth and justice for their beloved ones. Despite having no previous experience in social activism, shared networks or political affinities, some of these groups have managed to build a strong collective identity, achieving important results in terms of public policies, laws against enforced disappearances, consciousness- raising. Drawing on social movement’s literature and thanks to field research carried out in Mexico through the analysis of a single VRO named «United Forces for our Disappeared in Coahuila and Mexico», this article aims to analyse the collective identity formation and boundary work of the group, that is the process through which participants create identity boundaries, developing a sense of who they are and who they are not. I argue that the comprehension of the boundary work of this kind of groups helps to better understand how individuals and organizations create unity from diversity in order to stimulate collective actions and social mobilizations in high-risk contexts.
Collective Identity; Social Mobilization; Relatives of Victims; Enforced Disappearances; Human Rights;
Settore SPS/07 - Sociologia Generale
ago-2023
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/989509
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