Contesting Resistance, Protesting Violence
Women, War and Hip Hop in Mexico
This article endeavours to push scholarship away from analysing resistance from a universalist (white, liberal, masculinist, global northern) perspective by exploring how an intersectional framework facilitates taking an anti-essentialist approach to both resistance and resistant subjects. By examining how young women protest against the high numbers of homicides, systematic violence and widespread impunity in Mexico through rap music, this article argues that a focus on activist discourses has tended to result in essentialising resistance, thereby erasing certain tensions, marginalised experiences and oppositional voices. The article centres around ethnographic encounters with two rappers: Oaxaca-based activist, Mare Advertencia Lírika, and Torreón-based non-activist, Rabia Rivera. It provides a detailed analysis of their participation in a written rap battle on the theme of ‘war’. It reveals that rap songs encouraging introspection can be as political as explicitly activist songs, and that the aim of both can be to shift people’s understandings and promote change. This is significant because it is only by attending to distinct actors’ positionalities, to their similarities and differences, that negotiation can be collectively enabled to fight violence in Mexico.
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