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The book focuses on the psychosocial effects that organized crime related violence has produced in Mexico. It connects one of the major worries of our times – terrorism – with the conditions of peacelessness that prevail in Mexico. Specifically, the project explores the role played by fear as a peace disruptor, as well as one of the most important obstacles to social and democratic development, and inclusiveness. The volume contributes to the debate on whether the escalation of violence in Mexico since 2006 has produced circumstances similar to those countries that suffer terrorism, and to what degree that discussion can help in the construction of a more democratic and inclusive society.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam explains why peace is not only the absence of violence and how the subject should be assessed from its positive angle as well, i.e., not only what peace is not, but what peace is composed of. Meschoulam refers to the eight pillars of peace as they are outlined by the Institute for Economics and Peace, and explains how these concepts are related to the objective and subjective well-being of citizens. The author notes that this book attempts to connect two central aspects of peace: fear of violence and its potential repercussions on the country’s social and democratic development.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 2. Terrorism and Fear: Their Impact on Social and Democratic Development

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam begins with a brief discussion of the literature on terrorism and problematizes different definitions of this type of violence. The intention of this chapter is to determine the extent to which conditions of fear can impact lack of peace (peacelessness) in a given society, with direct consequences for democracy, inclusion, and governance. To this end, Meschoulam’s discussion focuses on: (a) the connection between stress, fear, democracy, and inclusion; (b) the connection between these conditions and obstacles to respect for human rights; (c) the circles that encourage fear and lack of democracy and development to breed and feed off one another; and (d) the direct impact conflict, specifically victimization, has on democratic development and citizen participation.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 3. Terror and Fear: The Mexican Case

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam asks whether the situation in Mexico—where criminal violence has been escalating since 2006—can be compared to that of societies that come under frequent terrorist attacks. The crux of the debate Meschoulam raises in the chapter is whether or not events have occurred in the country that can be classed as terrorist or quasi-terrorist acts or whether they are merely terrorist tactics being employed by criminal organizations. The evolution of violence associated with such organizations in Mexico and the use of strategies that aim not only to commit but also to publicize this type of violence are addressed in the chapter. Peripheral to this debate are the psychosocial repercussions of organized crime suffered by the population, which tie this chapter in with the fourth.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 4. Violence and Its Psychosocial Effects in Mexico

Abstract
This chapter, co-written with Dr. Jose Calderon-Abbo, is based on a study conducted by the research team he spearheaded in 2011–2012 and that Meschoulam belonged to. The study investigated symptoms suggestive of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the Mexican population due to violence associated with organized crime, which, unfortunately, turned out to be substantial. Meschoulam and Calderon explain that the aim of the study was to raise the issue of the “other” victims of violence—its psychological casualties in the wider population—and have it included on the national agenda. The authors also discuss the findings and some of the recommendations the team made at the time to attempt to mitigate the psychosocial effects that were detected.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 5. Social Construction of Fear: The Role of Experience, Observation, and Conversation

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam describes the first, second, and third phases of a qualitative investigation based on in-depth interviews with subjects from Mexico City and 15 states nationwide, including several regions with the highest levels of violence at the time this book was being written. Meschoulam explains that this series of studies attempt to further understand the social construction of perceptions and feelings associated with criminal violence and the chances of peace for the future, including the role of individual experiences, daily conversations, mass and social media. Above all, in this chapter, Meschoulam strives to highlight the importance of this discussion in drawing up more effective guidelines for the design and implementation of public policy geared toward building peace and, in turn, furthering the country’s democratic development.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 6. Social Construction of Fear: The Role of the Media

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam assesses the findings of the fourth phase of the qualitative investigation, which centered on exploring perceptions and conceptions about the media. Meschoulam asks what did participants from previous phases meant by “The Media”? What was it that drew participants to certain media and caused them to reject others? What made them angry or caused them to react negatively to specific media or journalists, and how were these sentiments socially constructed? What role did social media play in this process? What would a media source have to change to be considered more reliable? Specifically, how should the media cover violence? Meschoulam links the findings of this study to one of the pillars of peacebuilding: the free flow of information.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 7. Public Policy Proposals and General Recommendations

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam uses the findings outlined in the preceding chapters to present suggestions for future research, public policy recommendations, and general proposals aimed at various sectors of society to reduce the impact of fear and better contribute to a sense of peacefulness, particularly in terms of personal experience, with emphasis on local and community actions. Additionally, Meschoulam draws up a number of recommendations directed to the media in order to address some of the major concerns that emerged in the various studies presented in this book. While these recommendations were originally designed to be applied in Mexico, they could very well be adapted to other societies that find themselves in similar circumstances.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Chapter 8. Summary and Conclusions

Abstract
In this chapter, Meschoulam summarizes the key points of the book. Meschoulam integrates the literature review on peacebuilding, terrorism, and the increase in criminal violence in Mexico with the empirical findings of the PTSD suggestive symptoms study, as well as the findings of four phases of a qualitative investigation. Finally, Meschoulam presents conclusions gleaned from these findings.
Mauricio Meschoulam

Backmatter

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