"Learning to Gaze into the Abyss: An Interview with Rossana Reguillo" by Thomas Matusiak

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019

A leading voice in Latin American studies, Rossana Reguillo has given us a new vocabulary for understanding the ultra-contemporary forms of violence that shape not only her native Mexico, but which have come to condition global politics and visual culture in the twenty-first century. As research professor in the Department of Sociocultural Studies at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) in Guadalajara, Mexico, she has published extensively on diverse aspects of youth culture, the symbolic production of urban space, social constructions of fear and disenchantment, and political communication from mass media to human rights discourses. Underlying her research is a commitment to telling the stories of Mexico's most vulnerable political and cultural agents. In this context, Reguillo observes-citing "Beto," a child soldier within Mexico's contemporary conflict-dying is not enough. This violence produces an epistemological threat and challenges us to coin new concepts if we are to understand it. Reguillo offers us her theory of the narco máquina to refer to the diffuse network of political, paralegal, economic, and criminal forces that delocalizes space and nourishes itself with symbolic forms of violence from executions to mutilations and beheadings.

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