Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, University of California / Davis

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of California / Davis
Violence and an Emergent Ethics of Journalism in Mexico

Since former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa declared his "battle against organized crime" in December 2006, Mexico has experienced a wave of violence whose scale and scope is without precedent in the contemporary history of the country. This violence is enabled and perpetuated by pervasive corruption and impunity, creating an environment where the distinctions between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" violence, and between "legal" and "illegal" social actors, are increasingly hazy. This project will focus on the individual and collective labor of one network of Mexican journalists, who are reimagining and attempting to reinvent Mexican journalism in this troubled context. These individuals are not only thinking about their own safety in a country that has become an increasingly dangerous place for the practice of journalism; they are also asking fundamental questions about their responsibility to the Mexican public and their relationship to other journalists in a Mexico that is plagued by violence and corruption. Through ethnographic fieldwork, I seek to trace the practices, ways of thinking, and relationships in and through which a novel journalistic ethics emerging in this network of journalists. For instance, how do journalists imagine the public they are producing news for, and how do they want that public to react to events taking place in Mexico? How do journalists individually and collaboratively reflect on, evaluate, and discuss the role of journalists in relation to the journalistic community and the broader Mexican public? I conceptualize ethics not simply as an individual's relation to a set of fixed rules or norms, but rather as a process of subject formation that implies doing journalism ethically with others and for others. This project will offer a unique opportunity for studying the remaking of journalistic ethics during a time of instability and uncertainty for journalists, and for their country more broadly.