ruizdeteresa's blog | MIT Center for Civic Media

Resilient Neighborhoods: The fight for a voice against eminent domain strategies in Mexico City

This is the final submission for the Intro to Civic Media Class.

I have posted some of my progress throughout the semester on this regard. Today I am posting my development and research but also the plans to move ahead. This class has been specially helpful on that regard, in taking my research forward and opening up new ways to further my investigation on this topic. I will provide here a short abstract and all the proper links to learn more and read the whole submission. I look forward to your comments.

New steps (hopefully on the right direction). Mexico City and its contested spaces of violence

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been studying the role of citizen activism on regards to drug-related violence in Mexico City. In particular I have been focusing on the impact of eminent domain, and a new legal framework called ‘extinción de dominio’ that is being implemented on by the Mexico City government to tackle violence ridden neighborhoods through the transformation of property. In particular property that could be traced as the instrument of drug-related crime. This law basically strips away any rights to the local community and gives authorities the discretionary power to seize opportunity without having to prove guilt. Communities are then ‘presumed guilty’ until proven innocent, which may take months or years to clear. This causes a particular problem in terms of rights, and having those rights heard and respected. Crime (or presumed crime) becomes an immediate inhibitor of the citizen’s fight for the respect of their rights. Which leads us to see that even if the law is being used unfairly, there is no pushback from the communities.

Citizen displacement in Mexico City

I am still trying to develop the exact structure for my final project but have finally honed down on the topic and its breadth.
I am interested in space as a tool to understand the complexities at play in urban environment. Regarding the issue of drug-related violence I am specially interested in addressing the way the built environment manifest the intricacies of interaction between the state, citizens, and what Profr Davis calls 'violence entrepreneurs'.

In the last 6 years violence has scaled dramatically in certain cities in Mexico, driving the state to try and develop new judicial tools to understand and tackle this issue. At the center of this battle, is a fight for territory, and control of that territory by these three different parties, that are not always differentiated clearly. I wish to understand how activists have defended their territories in this struggle, and the languages and media developed through that struggle.

Platforms and Affordances: From Pamphleteers to Peer to Peer

This week in the Introduction to Civic Media class, we focused in exploring the 'continuity and change within and between media and communication technologies as tools for civic engagement and social change.' The premise proposed by the set of readings was to move beyond digital media in order to be critical around the 'relationship of 'old' media technologies to social change.'
How development in media impact or acompanies social shifts.

This week, the facilitators and scribes for the discussion was Rogelio, Callahn and myself. Rogelio started the discussion by reviewing James Carey's "Technology and Ideology: the Case of the Telegraph."

He explains the three major shifts, that came about with the telegraph. As told by Carey, the telegraph is the first example of communication and transportation being disaggregated. In a broad overview, we discussed how the telegraph impacted the industrial world, changing management techniques, organizational structure, etc. 

Sketching a path for a project: The role of citizens on regard to drug-related violence in Mexico

An attempt to leverage digital media in order to explore critically citizen’s role amidst drug related violence in urban environments in Mexico. From resilience to resistance, to different levels of active political struggle from citizens and non-state actors has been slightly silent from the larger conversation on regards to drug-related violence. Issues like policy, international aid, experimental legal frameworks have been the visible patterns discussed in the public realm. A two-tone conversation from the politics of control of the state to the politics of intimidation and submission from organized crime seem to lead the public agenda. The overt portrayal of violence infused crisis creates, in my view, a false idea that there is a passive role the citizenship is playing in a two player struggle. This two player game also creates the impression that there is a clear distinction between the role the state, the non-state actors, the organized criminals and the citizens are playing in this struggle.