Struggles for Recognition in the Postcolony: The Zapatistas and Narcocultura
33 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 16 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
This project has two objectives: 1) interrogating the idea that the upsurge in violence in Mexico is purely the result of a competition over material interests; and 2) arguing that the proliferation of social conflicts that blur the distinctions between political resistance and criminality (i.e., transnational gangs, drug-cartels) might be the result of the aporias between the legal and political institutions of modernity and the corporatist legacies of colonialism. First, to explain social conflict I deploy Axel Honneth’s model of the struggle for recognition as an alternative to the Hobbesian paradigm of self-preservation. Second, I unearth the moral claims raised by the Zapatistas as a point of comparison. Third, in order to identify the non-material motivations behind drug-related violence, I raise to the surface the moral claims implicit in the cultural products of narcocultura and read them as symbolic expressions of insurgency. Finally, I conclude that the perpetuation of corporatist practices of racist and classist discrimination, when combined with a post-conventional public discourse that praises individual achievements as the source of social esteem, not only generates experiences of disrespect against marginalized groups but also hinders the development of the shared languages necessary to transform those experiences into collective political resistance.
Keywords: [Postcolonialism, Recognition, Social Movements, Criminal Organizations, Drugs, Mexico]
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