Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (PhD)

Degree Level



Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies


Keith Booker

Committee Member

Luis Fernando Restrepo

Second Committee Member

Violetta Lorenzo-Feliciano




This work attempts to provide a discussion of the current waves of violence present in the northern border of Mexico. The country became a neoliberal state during the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The external debt and the historical corruption of the Mexican government placed Mexico in a vulnerable stage leaving its sovereignty with a fissure before the eyes of international circles of power. The adoption of a neoliberal economic system has impacted all the social tissue. The euphoric discourse of advancement and opportunity was spread by ideological apparatus, and people in constant need accepted positively the system. The arrival of transnationals to the northern border were then presented as job and advancement opportunities. However, the results were more complex. The shift to a neoliberal state, and the support from the government to the transnational rather than the domestic affairs have led to an unmanageable crisis of the state. This crisis in the sovereign has allowed for the emergence of a parallel state that is able to govern the country with their own law. There is not an official line of legal and illegal, people live under the law of mere survival. The system has brought other circumstance besides jobs in the assembly lines. There has been a rapid and unplanned urbanization, low wages, uprooted peasants migrating to the north due to the impossibility to compete with international market. The lives of these people have been reduced to their minimum, to bare life. This work then seeks to rethink the discourse of the Mexican Revolution as a platform of the state to build a myth of nationalism, and cultural identity. There has never been emancipation or inclusion of the subalterns, but the state has developed contemporary forms of slavery and oppression under a discourse of democracy. Therefore, this study will discuss the possibilities of the aesthetics in late capitalism, whether they are still a genuine form of resistance or if they contribute to the naturalization and production of death and violence. It will include a debate of the commodification of the aesthetics, but also of their political work.