Bio-politics of state repression: A case study of the Indignados social movement in Ciudad Juárez, México

Igi G Acosta, University of Texas at El Paso


Police repression has become one of the most widespread experiences of participating in social movements. This thesis provides a case study of how repression is experienced and how it affected the Indignados social movement in Ciudad Juárez, México. Specifically, it chronicles the circumstances around two separate repressive events that occurred on November 1, 2011. The thesis has two broad aims. First, it seeks to provide a sociological analysis of how state repression applied through structural and systematic use of police violence affected the political trajectory and lives of peaceful and non-violent activists from Ciudad Juárez. This highlights the violent reality of social protest in México in terms of human and civil rights abuses. Second, it seeks to understand police repression against activists through the lens of bio-politics as theorized by Foucault. This research is organized as a qualitative study, and data was drawn from 20 interviews, participant observation in Ciudad Juárez, and reviewing of media accounts. The Indignados movement and police repression happened at a time in which Ciudad Juárez was affected by state-led violence related to an ongoing “war against drugs” being implemented by the federal government of México. Using Foucault’s theory of bio-politics, this thesis argues that activists are being criminalized through police repression, which makes it possible for the rest of society to ignore them and ultimately leads to the end of the movement itself. Thus, state repression affected the political trajectory of the Indignados movement as well as the personal ability of activists to continue their fight against injustice.

Subject Area

Social research|Political science|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Acosta, Igi G, "Bio-politics of state repression: A case study of the Indignados social movement in Ciudad Juárez, México" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118835.