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A Dynamo of Violent Stories: Reading the 'Feminicidios' of Ciudad Juárez as Narratives

Ponce-Cordero, Roberto (2017) A Dynamo of Violent Stories: Reading the 'Feminicidios' of Ciudad Juárez as Narratives. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Over the past twenty-three years, several hundreds of women have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered with absolute impunity in Ciudad Juárez, an urban Moloch on the Mexican-American border. Because of these crimes, the city has become a symbol for all of what is wrong with globalization, transnational exploitation and the Latin American form of masculine domination known as machismo. Terms like femicidios or feminicidios have been coined in order to express that women, far from being this crime wave’s collateral damage, are rather their specific target, and that their sex is the factor that gives this vortex of violence its inner logic and coherence. For these crimes are, indeed, recurrently represented as a single crime wave that follows, moreover, an adamant logic. A myriad of different truths about and around that supposed logic has been elaborated by detectives, journalists, scholars, political activists, state officers, artists, social workers, etc. Both the crimes and the search for their logic have also appeared in prominent literary, musical, filmic and other cultural artifacts. My dissertation takes these multiple truths and these artifacts and analyzes them equally as narratives that are advanced to explain murderous violence against women and, in the process, acquire a life of their own by virtue of competing with each other, variously complementing each other, and being set in perpetual motion by a dynamo of violent stories that gyrates around the female corpses on the ground, clouding the access to said corpses and to the “facts” of their murders, ultimately constituting what I, throughout the text, will call the discourse on Ciudad Juárez. The goal of this dissertation is to map out this discourse, to
examine the ways in which different, often contradictory stories are mobilized within it and obtain the status of “truth,” and to propose a perspective from which to look at the feminicidios of Ciudad Juárez without succumbing to the temptation to look for easy answers and for single, individual culprits and causes, coming to terms with the enormity and chaotic nature of the social phenomenon being described and with its fundamentally ungraspable character instead.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ponce-Cordero, Robertorobponcor@gmail.comrop170000-0002-1819-2085
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSotomayor-Miletti, Áureaams389@pitt.eduams389
Committee MemberBeverley, Johnbrq@pitt.edubrq
Committee MemberDuchesne-Winter, Juanduchesne@pitt.eduduchesne
Committee MemberHerlinghaus,
Date: 27 January 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 December 2016
Approval Date: 27 January 2017
Submission Date: 21 December 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 318
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ciudad Juárez, border, violence, violence against women, feminism, Latin America, Cultural Studies
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2017 20:53
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2017 06:15


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