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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

Year Degree Awarded

Winter 2015

First Advisor

Angelica Bernal

Second Advisor

Barbara Cruikshank

Third Advisor

Millie Thayer

Fourth Advisor

Alicia Schmidt Camacho

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | Feminist Philosophy | Latina/o Studies | Political Theory | Women's Studies

Abstract

This dissertation project examines the wave of protests and practices of resistance that emerged in response to feminicide—the murder, with state impunity, of women and girls because they are female—in the northern cities of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. Its goal is to show how those women who live under extreme regimes of violence contest it since far too often social scientific studies that examine gender-based violence in northern Mexico have sough to understand its social, economic, and political roots. While this is indeed a significant contribution, this study aims to reflect politically on the innovative responses to the increasing normalization of violence and the injurious effects of global capitalism by drawing from the insights of political theory, feminist theory, violence studies and human rights scholarship, which I place in a sustained conversation with anti-feminicide activism. Whereas Ciudad Juárez is commonly described as the world’s capital of women’s dead bodies, this dissertation offers a fresh contribution to the existing femicide/feminicide literature by de-centering the overemphasis on violence in order to propose that we rethink the present context of the city from the standpoint of the protests and practices of resistance. I argue that collective activism in Ciudad Juárez not only offers a powerful critique against the state institutions that produce a systematic culture of impunity, but, more significantly, it represents a concerted effort to find more democratic solutions and alternatives to the problem of generalized violence. Thus, throughout this dissertation I will show that the anti-feminicide protests and practices of resistance developed in Juárez offer new forms of social and political organization that seek to repair state violence while generating global awareness about the persistent problem of feminicide. Therefore, I contend that the anti-feminicide struggle can be better understood through the analysis of four crucial practices: maternal activism, a practice that I term the funeralization of the city, human rights discourse and practice, and the ethics of care. I approach these practices as moments of interruption whereby those women who are more vulnerable to gender-based violence raise awareness about that vulnerability in order to redress it.

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