This research, based on fieldwork carried out in 2013 in the state of Michoacan, in center-west Mexico, has two aims: first, to reconstruct emergence processes of criminal organizations in Michoacan and their sociology; second, to grasp, in these processes, the reconfiguration dynamics of the state itself.
Tierre Caliente region, in the state of Michoacan, 2014.
A member of self-defense militia is talking with a commander of the Federal Police, 2015.
I first study how in the 1980s, drugs, a local resource, engendered the emergence of organizations built around an élite of rancheros with the competence and networks to produce and commercialize them. I then analyze what the appearance of these criminal organizations implied for clientelist relations and political action: the replacement of an elite of caciques who served as intermediaries at different levels of public administration with rancheros, marginal until then, resulted in a decrease in the capacity of the State to mobilize intermediaries on the local level, leaving room to cartels ready to ensure certain public services. Lastly, I define in what ways, far from only giving rise to a simple retreat of the State, criminal organizations participate in its responsibilities on the local level.