3929 - The Mérida Initiative as a state-building dispositive

Since the mid-1990s Mexico has turned into the single most important transit country for drug smuggling into the United States. The concomitant increase in violent crime and the usurpation of public institutions are viewed with great concern by policy makers in Mexico and the US alike. This has been the point of departure for intensified bilateral cooperation in the area of organized crime between the two governments. The paper will focus on the Mérida Initiative, which is currently the central framework for security cooperation between the two countries. But instead of viewing it as a straight forward international agreement between two autonomous governments, the Mérida Initiative will be analyzed as a new variant of the globally dominant state-building paradigm (Chandler). What makes this case of state-building new and interesting, is the fact that unlike subordinate states such as Afghanistan or Liberia, Mexico, as a semiperiphal state, is in a position to substantially (re-)negotiate the terms of application of the western-dominated state-building dispositive. The goal of the paper is twofold. On the the hand, it seeks to reconstruct the logic of application of the state-building dispositive that is the Mérida Initiative, and, on the other, to show how some of its key features were (re-)shaped through a negotiation process involving state and non-state actors on both sides of the border.

Keywords: state-building, organized crime, security, Mérida Initiative

Author: Finkenbusch, Peter (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


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