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"Violence, Kinship Networks, and Political Resilience: Evidence from Mexico"

Dr. Cassy Dorff

Cover of "Violence, Kinship Networks, and Political Resilience: Evidence from Mexico"


Previous literature has shown a link between violent victimization and pro-sociopolitical behavior. This study asks why victimization is shown to increase the likelihood of political participation in regions of ongoing armed conflict. I argue that previous answers to this question have overlooked a key variable for predicting civilian behavior: individual-level social context. As a step forward in connecting social networks to behavior outcomes, I present the kinship network as a novel measure for proxying an individual’s valuable and private social interactions. Building on previous victimization literature, I suggest that to comprehensively understand the effects of victimization, scholars should account for social context. Specifically, I examine the hypothesis that as kinship ties strengthen, victimization positively influences the likelihood of political participation. To test this argument, I turn to the Mexican criminal conflict. I use original survey data of 1,000 respondents collected in July 2012 from the ongoing drug war in Mexico, and in doing so, I find that kinship plays a key role in motivating political participation during armed conflicts in that survivors of criminal violence with strong ties to kinship networks are the most likely to participate in political groups; these results are robust to state-level fixed effects and are unlikely to be driven by victimization selection bias.

Dorff, Cassy L. 2017. "Violence, Kinship Networks, and Political Resilience: Evidence from Mexico." Journal of Peace Research 1-16.

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