Policing the Environmental Conjuncture: Structural Violence in Mexico and the National Assembly of the Environmentally Affected

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DOI: 10.3898/NEWF:96/97.03.2019

In this article, I contextualise the emergence and describe the political processes of a grassroots mobilisation against the structural violence of neoliberalism in Mexico in order to suggest the necessity of re-thinking conjunctural analysis in a posthegemonic direction. The National Assembly of the Environmentally Affected (ANAA) is a nationwide network of Mexican communities and organisations that has operated since 2008. ANAA’s most notorious achievement has been the opening of a Mexican chapter at the Permanent People’s Tribunal, the final verdict of which established the legal responsibility of the Mexican State for structural violence against the Mexican people. My account of ANAA’s intervention in the Mexican conjuncture recuperates Stuart Hall’s emphasis on complexity and singularity by narrating, through multiple critical voices, the cultural and political conjuncture in which some of the most environmentally affected groups of the Mexican population have been able to organise and strike alliances with critical academic communities or socially concerned scientists. In terms of theoretical elaboration, I reflect on the limits of conjunctural analysis as a response to the deeper crisis of representation – what I call a ‘disjuncture’ – that concerns the scale of socioenvironmental violence in neoliberal Mexico. In order to think beyond issues of cultural representation, I propose to inform a situated practice of environmentally affected cultural studies with the posthegemonic turn in Latin American thinking of the political.

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New Formations 96/97: This Conjuncture