by Melissa W. Wright

In 1993, a group of women shocked Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, with the
news that dozens of girls and women had been murdered and dumped,
like garbage, around the city during the year. As the numbers of murders
grew over the years, and as the police forces proved unable and
unwilling to find the perpetrators, the protestors became activists. They
called the violence and consequent impunity for the crimes “femicide,”
and they demanded that the Mexican government, at the local, state, and
federal levels, stop the violence and prosecute the murderers.

With this concept of necropolitics in mind, I examine how the wars
over the political meaning of death in relation both to femicide and to
the events called drug violence unfold through a gendering of space, of
violence, and of subjectivity. My objective is twofold: first, to demonstrate
how the antifemicide movement illustrates the stakes for a democratic
Mexican state and its citizens while governing elites argue that the violence
devastating Ciudad Juárez is a positive outcome of the government’s war
against organized crime; and second, to show how a politics of gender is
central to this kind of necropolitics.