Universiteit Leiden

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The Popular Culture of Illegality: Santa Muerte and Narco Cultus in Mexico

NWO has granted a 4-year subsidy to the project The Popular Culture of Illegality, ellaborated in collaboration between the University of Amsterdam, University Utrecht and Leiden University. This research focuses on the esthetic representations and practices in visual, musical and symbolical forms of authority of criminal organizations among marginal communities in Brazil, Jamaica and Mexico.

Ethnographic research

The hypothesis is that the power position of criminal groups is not only attained through the exercise of violence or the provision of services that the state does not deliver, but it is also based on cultural and representational practices.  Dr. J.C.G. Aguiar (Latin American Studies, Leiden University) will collaborate as a post-doctoral researcher, and conduct ethnographic research in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Matamoros at the Mexico/US border, where emerging forms of religiosity have appeared, linking the underworld of illegality and informality to the dominant society. 

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