My research analyzes the impact of criminal violence on the exercise of democratic citizenship in Latin America, with central emphasis on Mexico.
My work examines how variations in the level of criminal violence condition the activation of civil society networks, citizen participation, and electoral accountability. I find that even as victims take to the streets to demand peace and justice, violence threatens the electorate as a whole and reduces incentives to take part in elections. Moreover, electoral accountability amid violence requires voters to be able to assign responsibility for crime. Given such a difficult task, voters hold politicians accountable for insecurity in the narrow circumstances of organized crime-related violence and partisan alignment across levels of government .
My study draws on a rich array of sources. I created an original post-electoral survey, as well as a novel newspaper databank of protests against crime in Mexico during the 2006–2012 period. In collaboration with Guillermo Trejo, I have also developed a unique dataset on criminal violence in Mexico. My statistical evidence is complemented with participant observation in marches for peace and qualitative in-depth interviews with victims and nonvictims of crime in six Mexican cities.
I plan to extend the reach of the project to other Latin American countries, where rising violence has led citizens to identify crime as the most important political problem facing their nation.