A1 Journal article – refereed
“‘We Were All Involved’: The ‘Great Violence of 2008–2012’ on the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez Border”

List of Authors: Heiskanen Benita
Publisher: Routledge
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Comparative American Studies
Volume number: 14
eISSN: 1741-2676


This article discusses El Paso-Ciudad Juárez residents’ experiences of the
“Great Violence of 2008–2012” in the border region between the United States
and Mexico. As a result of the Mexican government’s “war” on organized crime,
launched by President Felipe Calderón in 2006, the region saw a wave of
violence that created mayhem, thousands of deaths, and a vast sense of
insecurity among the border community. The physical sites border residents had
access to—or were denied entrance to—had a fundamental significance for their
everyday existence. By the same token, the refusal to succumb to spatial
restrictions, or claiming space for oneself despite ongoing atrocities, served
as an empowering way to deal with the threat of violence. Drawing on 54
interviews and 22 written testimonies, the article claims that the intersection
of spatiality and agency is central in conceptualizing experiences of
security/insecurity caused by the violence. It argues that spatial strategizing
provided tools with which the various parties involved exercised their agency
in imposing, coping with, and countering violence. The discussion concludes by
problematizing the intersecting issues of agency, involvement, and complicity
as broader ethical and epistemological questions invoked by the study of

Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 05:37