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PhD defence

The Mexican Drug Violence: Hybrid Warfare, Predatory Capitalism and the Logic of Cruelty

Thursday 20 September 2018
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

My thesis analyzes the Mexican Drug Violence. This conflict follows partially the model of a so-called ‘new war’, post-modern conflicts in which armed groups merge with organized crime and deliberately create a situation of chaos and lawlessness. Actually, it has actually moved beyond that into a form of hybrid warfare: multidimensional, elusive, unpredictable and fought on many fronts with different weapons and intensities. The war being waged by radical Islam is another example of hybrid warfare. From an economic perspective, the cartels are extreme examples of predatory capitalist corporations that thrive in a neoliberal, globalized economy. Just as legal business, cartels face issues such as human resources, publicity and branding, corporate social responsibility, diversification and innovation. From an anthropological point of view, I investigate the motivations of the actors who engage in cri minal ac tivities and extreme cruelty. There are remarkable similar mechanism how people are being taught to kill and I compare Mexican professional assassins with West-African child soldiers and Western Jihadists. Extreme acts of violence beyond the instrumental are often called ‘senseless’. However, this closes the door for investigation. There is a logic and meaning behind ‘inhumane’ violence that is in fact part of the repertoire of human behavior.

Funding organisations

This PhD project was self-funded by earnings from Teun Voeten's job as a war photographer.



PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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