Mexico is one of the least peaceful countries in the world. Peace, however, is not limited to the absence of violence for it includes many other aspects related to attitudes, institutions, and structures in a society (IEP, 2021). In this regard, the municipality of Ecatepec in the State of Mexico is an illuminating case study not only for the absence of conditions for structural peace, but also for the impact this has on the perceptions and conceptions of its residents. This paper presents the results of qualitative research carried out in Ecatepec at the request of a dialogue group for peacebuilding. A total of 31 in-depth interviews were conducted for exploring the perceptions, conceptions, visions, and concerns of a sample of Ecatepec residents regarding issues such as security, absence of peace, and possibilities for peacebuilding in the community, and how peacebuilding is envisioned at a local level. The interviews were fully transcribed and analyzed in detail using the qualitative NVivo software; subsequently, they were coded using preexisting and emerging categories. The results revealed a high level of awareness of the structural factors underlying general and gender-based violence; they also showed the high impact of participants’ own experiences, and those of people emotionally and physically close to them, in the social construction of perceptions about high insecurity and about what takes place in the municipality and country. The findings highlight the relevance of local policy, as well as the impact of citizen participation and organization in the municipality’s communities due to the perceived neglect by authorities, and the need to find support and resilience mechanisms in the absence of basic elements to survive daily life with dignity. Several of the issues that emerged during the research have global relevance—for example, distrust of institutions. Therefore, the findings contribute to a better understanding of how peace breaks down and how it can be built.
Meschoulam, Mauricio; Kawa, Michelle; Naanous, Tania; Quintanilla, Sofía; Castillo, Luisa; Rocha, Stefany; Águila, Fernanda; Van Rankin, Armando; Duque, Arturo; Zuart, Paola; Dalma, Arianne; Baños, Fernanda; and Kenny, Shannon
"Material Deprivation and Human Wealth: The Importance of the Local in Peacebuilding,"
International Journal of Peace Studies: Vol. 26:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/ijps/vol26/iss2/5