The Search for Mexico’s Disappeared
Since 2006, more than 65,000 people have disappeared in Mexico. These disappearances remain largely unsolved: disappeared people are rarely found, and the Mexican state almost never investigates or prosecutes those responsible. Despite this, people not only continue to report disappearances – but many devote their lives to answering the question “where are they?” Bootstrap Justice: The Search for Mexico’s Disappeared leverages ten years of mixed methods research to understand what explains and enables the sustained mobilization of some family members of the disappeared, and to analyze how configurations of political power between state and criminal actors shape what is possible for them to achieve. The book follows three families from before the disappearance of their loved ones, through their transformations into sophisticated and strategic victim advocates and activists. It complements these individual narratives with an analysis of the evolving political opportunities for mobilization within Mexico. It present the concept of collusive impunity, a status quo in which a mix of state and non-state actors work to guarantee that serious crimes are not solved and perpetrators are not prosecuted, and theorizes the conditions under which some form of justice may be possible.
Other Recent Research:
Gallagher, J. & and J. Contesse. (forthcoming). “Critical Disconnects: Progressive Jurisprudence & Tenacious Impunity in Mexico.” Cambridge University Press. In Politics and Law in Latin America: New Questions, Historic Challenges, (Eds. D. Brinks, S. Botero, & E. Ocantos-Gonzalez).
Hilbink, L., V. Salas , J. Gallagher, and J. Restrepo-Sanin. (forthcoming). “Popular Mistrust of the Justice System and Legal Mobilization in Latin America.” Comparative Political Studies.
Gallagher, J (2019). The Judicial Breakthrough Model: Transnational Advocacy Networks and Lethal Violence. In A. Alejandro & B. Frey (Eds.) Mexico’s Human Rights Crisis (pp.250-271). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hilbink, L. & J. Gallagher (2019). State and Law in Latin America: A Critical Assessment. In K. Ansolabehere & R. Sieder (Eds.) Handbook of Law and Society in Latin America. Routledge Press.
Gallagher, J. (2017). The last mile problem: activists, advocates, and the struggle for justice in domestic courts. Comparative Political Studies, 50(12), 1666-1698.