The Central Mexican state of Michoacán is in crisis: its institutions have been unable to halt the crime-related violence that has been escalating since 2012, and continues to increase. Our research project seeks to explain how the practices that we refer to as activism face the challenges of posed by multiple violences and institutional fragility.

criminalIn 2016, 93.8 % of the state’s population expressed distrust and fear of the police and judicial bodies.

21.3% of the population had been a crime victim in that year.

gunA total of 1,277 homicide cases were registered in Michoacán in 2017:
the equivalent of almost 28 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.


As Michoacán is a highly diverse state in geographical, historical, and cultural terms, our analyses compare ethnographic data from 6 contrasting localities, ranging from the most rural (Chinicuila, a cattle-ranching municipality of 5000 inhabitants) to the most urban (the state capital Morelia).