Justice, Crime and the Lynch Mob in Post-Revolutionary Mexico (1930–1960)
Mexico has witnessed an increasing incidence of lynching over the last thirty years. An illegal, overt, and particularly cruel form of punishment, lynching offers disquieting insights into a country often considered on a steady path of democratic consolidation and economic development. Scholars have attributed the presence of lynching to the recent upsurge on levels of insecurity and crime in the country. Historical evidence suggests, however, that this practice cannot be fully explained by looking at the contemporary context. An in-depth analysis of historical cases (1930–1960) reveals how lynchings are rooted in longer sociopolitical dynamics. Such dynamics include a deep distrust in state authorities, a persistence of community-based conceptions of justice, and a propensity to use swift forms of punishment to control certain crimes.
Gema Santamaría (PhD, New School for Social Research), a 2017–18 Kellogg visiting fellow, is assistant professor of Latin American history at Loyola University, Chicago. Her research analyzes the history of Latin American processes of state building across the 20th and 21st centuries, with a particular attention to questions of violence, crime, justice, and the rule of law...