trevor (2)Trevor Stack (CISRUL Director, University of Aberdeen) is the principal investigator of this project. He is an anthropologist who teaches in Hispanic Studies. He has been carrying out research in Mexico since 1992 and has over ten years of research experience in Michoacán. He has published the monograph Knowing History in Mexico: An Ethnography of Citizenship (2012), and is lead editor of the CISRUL volume Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty (2015), and co-editor of a forthcoming volume with Jeffrey Alexander, Radicalism and the Civil Sphere. His articles include “Beyond the State? Civil sociality and other notions of citizenship” and “In the eyes of the law, in the eyes of society: a citizenship tradition in west Mexico”.

salvador (2)Salvador Maldonado (Colegio de Michoacán) is Mexico’s foremost expert on violence in Michoacán. He is a sociologist and anthropologist who has worked on: 1) Reforms of the State, citizenship and local democratization through security, violence and illegalities; 2) Processes of violence production associated with drug problems, under comparative perspectives with Andean regions; and, 3) Theoretical debates on power, violence, legality and State. His key publication is the book, Los márgenes del Estado mexicano. Territorios ilegales, desarrollo y violencia en Michoacán (The margins of the Mexican State: Illegal territories, development, and violence in Michoacán).

edgar (2)Edgar Guerra (Centro de Investigaciones y Docencias Economicas) is a sociologist of armed groups, social movements, and drug policy. He was awarded a PhD in sociology at the University of Bielefeld in Germany and has been a visiting researcher at Newcastle University. His main research topics are: 1) non-state armed groups and criminal organizations; 2) protest, violence and state institutions; and 3) effects and consequences of politics and the war on drugs. His most recent articles include “Demands, identities and repertoire of protest: an analysis of the Mexican cannabis movement” (2018) and “Organización armada. La dinámica operativa de los grupos de autodefensa tepalcatepenses” (Armed organization: The operative dynamic of auto-defence groups in Tepalcatepec, 2018).

Irene (2)Irene Álvarez (Colegio de Michoacan) has a PhD in Sociology from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa, Mexico City. She is interested in the strategies people develop in adverse conditions, with a particular focus on security, social movements, and environmental conflicts. Combining ethnographic methods with social theory, she has analyzed a variety of case studies, such as anti-mining social movements, indigenous movements, and social organizations that claim their rights over territories in dispute. Her publications include “La lucha territorial de los huicholes. Reconocimiento político e integridad cultural en un mismo enunciado” (The territorial struggle of the Huichol people: Political recognition and cultural integrity in one declaration, 2015).

866 (3)Pilar Domíngo (Overseas Development Institute) is a senior policy analyst and expert on Politics and Governance with particular expertise on governmental and institutional fragility in Latin America and beyond. At ODI, she has worked on state-building, children and women’s rights, justice and security reforms, and the challenges of working with non-state actors and institutions in fragile settings. For example, she was a lead researcher on a UN Women evaluation on support to women’s leadership and participation in peace, security and humanitarian response in 2014. She has a PhD in Politics from the University of Oxford, and has been a lecturer at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, and several other universities.

iran informeIran Guerrero (Centro de Investigaciones y Docencias Economicas) is a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in the fields of human rights and legal activism. He holds a Law Degree from the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo and a PhD in Social Sciences from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales. Alongside the current project, he is also a member of the Collective of Critical Studies of the Law “Emancipaciones,” which provides legal accompaniment to some indigenous communities in Michoacán.

SJ1-web (3)Sasha Jesperson is an independent research consultant and analyst with expertise in governance, organized crime, illicit flows, conflict, human trafficking, security and development, and armed groups. She has worked with UK government departments, the European Commission, the Economic Social Research Council, and UN University to deliver technical advice for policymaking and programming. She has also been a campaigner for Amnesty International and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Having earned a PhD in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2014, Sasha has been a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and the director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University, London.

Denisse (2)Denisse Román (Colegio de Michoacán) is a postdoctoral researcher in political and historical anthropology. Her main areas of interest include factionalism, clientilism and caciquismo, state formation, ethnicity, and multicultural politics. Among her publications are her 2014 PhD thesis, El espejismo del orden : Etnografía histórica sobre política local en Cherán, Michoacán (1856-2014) (The mirage of order: A historical ethnography of local politics in Cherán, Michoacán (1856-2014)) at the Colegio de Michoacán, and the article, “’We are indigenous of the Purhépecha people’. Hegemony, multiculturalism and neoliberal state reforms in Mexico” (2019).

ariadna (2)Ariadna Sánchez is a political sociologist who has studied for her PhD at the Colegio de Mexico, having previously studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and the Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. Jose Maria Luis Mora. Her principal areas of research are: urban sociality, everyday life, the state, and urban violence. She has been a research assistant at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte and the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Iztapalapa, Mexico City.

me linkedin (2)Catherine Whittaker (CISRUL research fellow, University of Aberdeen) is an anthropologist with a particular interest in violence, gender, social movements, religion, and Indigeneity. She completed her PhD thesis, Warrior Women: Contested Understandings of Violence and Gender in Highland Mexico, at the University of Edinburgh in 2018. Within the present project, her research has focused on female activists’ barriers to political participation in responding to violence in Michoacán. Her articles include, “Sahagún reloaded? The priest, his pyramid, and deliberate syncretism in Milpa Alta” (2016) and the forthcoming “Anthropology and the politics of Indigeneity.”

Support staff


SAMSUNG CSCProject administrator in Mexico: Dafne G. Viramontes Ornelas (CIDE) has a degree in Economics from the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes and is currently pursuing Master’s studies in Methods for the Analysis of Public Policies at CIDE. Her research analyzes the structural problems that give rise to gender inequality within different intervention spaces such as Mexican justice institutions, national and international drug policy and the socioeconomic context of vulnerable populations. Her most recent publication,  “Michoacán: violencias, fragilidad institucional y seguridad ciudadana”, analyzes the situation of violence and insecurity in Michoacán.

Data management assistant: Gabriel Alejandro Corona Ojera (CIDE)