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"We became sisters, not of blood but of pain": Women's experiences of organization and empowerment in relation to enforced disappearances in Mexico
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics, Institute of Latin American Studies.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Enforced disappearances has been used as a repressive strategy by numerous Latin American states against tens of thousands of presumed political opponents and adversaries, starting in the 1960’s in Guatemala. In contemporary Latin America, Mexico holds the record for disappearances, both politically and non-politically motivated, with more than 30 000 cases reported since the beginning of the drug war in 2006. In response to the silence and impunity from the state, family members have been forced to organize in order to advance in the search for their relatives and for justice. Most of these family members are women. The aim of this study is to analyze women’s experiences of organizing as relatives to the forcefully disappeared in Mexico to explore possible connections between organization and empowerment. Empowerment is here understood from a feminist perspective, as a transformative factor that gives women increased feelings of ‘power to’, ‘power with’ and ‘power within’. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five women organized in four different family members’ organizations in Mexico. The results were analyzed against a theoretical framework consisting of previous research and theories on women’s organizing in Latin America, focusing on strategic and practical gender interests and theories on women’s empowerment, from a feminist and sociologist perspective. The analysis revealed that through the process of organizing, women developed a critical consciousness and access to new skills and resources that resulted in the women becoming more active, political and empowered subjects. The results also showed that despite women’s reasons for organizing being originally practical, to find their loved ones, during the process of organization, these reasons became more strategic and political, as a result of the empowerment process. The study concludes that women’s collective action is a source of empowerment even within organizations that does not have this as an outspoken aim and that the collectives of family members have provided a space for women to become active, conscious and critical citizens.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 52 p.
Keyword [en]
Women's empowerment, women's organization, enforced disappearances, Mexico, power, critical consciousness, feminist research
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143895OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143895DiVA: diva2:1105375
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Available from: 2017-06-08 Created: 2017-06-03 Last updated: 2017-06-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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