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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

Land Ownership, Political Patronage and Organised Violence in Michoacán: The Rancheros as the Socio-Political Basis for Contemporary Criminal Organisations

Romain Le Cour Grandmaison
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
Romain Le Cour Grandmaison
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne

This presentation analyses the creation and installation of criminal organizations in Michoacán, Mexico.

The social group of the rancheros constitute the social core of the region’s contemporary criminal organizations. These small or middle landowners and farmers have played a paramount role in the sociological process of appropriation and organization of violence, on the one hand, and political integration through local dynamics, on the other hand. I show how the emergence of rancheros as a local elite deeply transformed the logics of political intermediation, political patronage, use and practice of organized violence. This perspective also allows us to discuss the classical top-down, state-focused theories that dominate the literature on violence in Mexico.

My work is based on scholarly lectures, archives, fieldwork and interviews with a wide array of local actors, and a first phase of ethnographic work in the region of Tierra Caliente, in the Western part of Michoacán.
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