Document Type

Honors Project


In its Latin American context, the term lynching refers to the extrajudicial killing of an alleged criminal by a large group and is often perceived as spontaneous mob violence. Utilizing Giorgio Agamben's notion of the 'state of exception,' I argue that lynching occurs in particular spaces in which the norms of law and actual practice are decisively separated, and communities are imagined by the state as "killable bodies" rather than citizens. In response, lynching is a paradoxical and deeply political act; it serves as both a rejection of the state and a demand for inclusion in the benefits of citizenship. A higher level of citizen security can be realized only through the integration of state level security initiatives with local knowledge and citizen involvement.



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