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The Construction of Indigenous Suspects: Militarization and the Gendered and Ethnic Dynamics of Human Rights Abuses in Southern Mexico

Lynn Stephen
American Ethnologist
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1999), pp. 822-842
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/647233
Page Count: 21
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The Construction of Indigenous Suspects: Militarization and the Gendered and Ethnic Dynamics of Human Rights Abuses in Southern Mexico
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Abstract

I use the tools of ethnography to analyze the gendered and ethnic patterns of militarization and torture in southern Mexico. Such patterns replay gendered and sexual stereotypes of indigenous men and women as captured in national myth and vision. While such an analysis is useful for Mexico, it draws from and is applicable to other situations of political violence and provides a way of understanding the underlying culture wars--signaled by crises of representation at the margins of states--being waged to redefine nations. I argue that the insights of anthropological analysis (particularly historical and cultural analysis) are key in clarifying the rationales official for treating some people differently than others, and thus constructing them as suspects vulnerable to political violence and human rights abuses. [ethnicity, gender, sexuality, human rights, political violence, militarization, Mexico]

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