Shadow economy, broken social fabric and the will to govern : Calderón rescuing Mexico
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In my Master´s thesis I interpret the conflict in Mexico between organized crime networks and the government. The main strategy is to analyze the situation in Mexico through the theoretical concepts of security, weak and failed state and new war. The approach is to open up the situation by analyzing the former Mexican President Felipe Calderón's rhetoric on organized crime in Mexico. The aim is to find out how Calderón argues about the security situation in Mexico and why Calderón made fighting organized crime in Mexico his administration’s top priority. I analyze the speeches given and statements made by Felipe Calderón about organized crime in Mexico from 2006 to 2012. The research material is analyzed using different analytical tools in order to fully understand how Calderón has built his policy around the concept of security. My main tools are rhetorical analysis and political theory. Researchers and Calderón himself have found it hard to name the ongoing conflict in Mexico. Moreover, how the conflict is named affects how it should be interpreted and acted upon. In order to understand the situation in Mexico I look at the aspects of the conflict with theoretical insights from researchers of conflict and security, specifically using Mary Kaldor, Kalevi Holsti and Barry Buzan as well as Ole Waever and Jaap de Wilde. There are clear themes in Calderón's rhetoric. First, he emphasizes his authority and his moral responsibility to protect Mexican families. Second, Calderón clearly differentiates the “good citizens” from those who are part of organized crime. Then, he admits that the power of organized crime is a complex issue. Finally, according to Calderón, organized crime is a consequence of structural problems in society: inequality, corruption and impunity. My research shows that Calderón has rhetorically framed Mexico under an emergency status to justify military actions in the country. Calderón has used many different rhetorical tactics in order to describe organized crime as a major threat to all Mexicans. He politically justifies the military approach by saying that the organized crime threatens the authorities in many parts of Mexico. By doing this he is presenting an enemy to the nation and the state. Calderón then outsources the problem of organized crime in Mexico to the United States in order to bring cohesion back to Mexicans. Calderón argues that organized crime is not only a national problem, but also a transnational; therefore stipulating that actions should be taken at the transnational level. Thus, the conflict in Mexico fulfills the criteria of the concept of “new war” defined by Kaldor. I argue, however, that Mexico cannot be seen as a weak state; instead it should be seen merely as a weakened one. ...
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