Drugs, State Formation and Justice from Below

Drugs, State Formation and Justice from Below

In recent years Wil Pansters has been engaged in two major research projects. The first is a joint project with historian Benjamin Smith (University of Warwick) on the modern history of drug trafficking in Mexico (1910-1985), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). The second examines practices and cultures of justice from below in violent democracies, and has a much more contemporary orientation. It looks at different initiatives by ordinary people to obtain truth and justice in circumstances of pervasive violence and institutional fragility. A part of this project concentrated on the cult of La Santa Muerte.

Wil Pansters’ research focuses on the multiple relations between state-making, power, violence, and criminal organizations, as well as on the popular responses to conditions of insecurity and violence. His research seeks to build on insights from anthropology and history.

Key publications

La Santa Muerte in Mexico: History, Devotion, Society, ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2019, in press).

‘U.S. Moral Panics, Mexican Politics, and the Borderlands Origins of the War on Drugs, 1950-1962’, in Journal of Contemporary History, (with Benjamin T. Smith). Available at: https://doi-org.proxy.library.uu.nl/10.1177%2F0022009418790664, published online 1 November, 2018.

´Drug trafficking, the informal order, and caciques. Reflections on the crime-governance nexus in Mexico´, in Global Crime. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17440572.2018.1471993, published online 16 May, 2018.

´Zones and Languages of State-Making: From Pax Priísta to Dirty War´, in Jaime M. Pensado and Enrique C. Ochoa (eds.), México beyond 1968. Revolutionaries, Radicals, and Repression during the Global Sixties and Subversive Seventies (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press), 2018, pp. 33-50.    

‘’We had to pay to live!’. Competing Sovereignties in Violent Mexico’, in Conflict and Society: Advances in Research, nr. 1, 2015, pp. 144-164.