Feb 28, 2020
Eduardo Moncada is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and has held numerous and prestigious post-doctoral fellowships. His work investigates the political factors shaping the dynamics and consequences of violence, including how it shapes local democracy and development and the strategies of victims to overcome violence. His first book, Cities, Business and the Politics of Urban Violence in Latin America published with Stanford University Press, analyzes and explains the ways in which 3 Colombian cities (Cali, Medellin, and Bogota) respond to the challenge of urban violence. His current work explores victimization to extortion in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, and the emergence of vigilantism as a reaction to such victimization. Based on ethnographic work, the book explores the relationship between victims, police, and gangs in urban and rural settings.
Eduardo is the son of two parents that escape from violence in Latin America and immigrated to the US. That trajectory has marked his work including the study of violence with the risk and difficulties it implies and his choice for ethnographic methods to unearth data where it doesn’t exist. He discusses here his book on urban violence in Colombia as well as his recent work on extortion, a pervasive phenomenon emerging as a result of state weakness that deprives citizens of basic public security in Latin America. He talks about its linkages to migration North and to the emergence of vigilantism seeking justice where the state does not provide it. Finally, Eduardo describes how criminal groups in Latin America have diversified into legal activities and have become part of global commodity chains showing how their survival goes beyond weak state into a global commercial system that accommodates them.