Mittwoch, 18. Mrz 2015, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Wednesday Seminar - Claudio Lomnitz

Mexico: Fantasy of the Family, Fantasy of Rule of Law

Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie
Universitätsstraße 7, NIG 4. Stock, HS C, 1010 Wien


In July 2014 Mexico’s Federal Police raided an orphanage in a traditionally Catholic city in the western state of Michoacán. The raid was a punctiliously orchestrated media-op, complete with military helicopter, a tank, and dozens of soldiers in bullet-proof vests, who stormed the orphanage as if the capture of Osama Bin Laden were on the balance. The orphanage’s name was La Gran Familia (The Great Family), and it was the creation and fiefdom of a lady from the local rancher elite. The raid had followed on the heels a deep crisis of governability in the state of Michoacán, that culminated two weeks prior, with the arrest of the most vocal leader of locally organized militias that operated against a local drug cartel, known as the Knights Templar (“Los Templarios”). Based on interviews done locally and on a study of various media, this presentation analyzes two fissures that were made visible in this social drama: a fracture in the ability to counter insecurity with the rule of law, and a fracture in the ability of the family to reshape local order. Mexico’s current crisis is as much a crisis of the state as it is a crisis of family and community.

Claudio Lomnitz is the Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Lomnitz was a Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Committee on Historical Studies at the New School University. He served at different points in time as co-director of the University of Chicago's Mexican Studies Program (with Friedrich Katz), Director of the University of Chicago's Latin American Studies Program, and Director of Columbia University's Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. He has also taught at University of Chicago, where he was Professor of History, New York University, El Colegio de México, and Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa, in Mexico City. At the New School University, Lomnitz was appointed editor of the academic journal Public Culture, which moved with him to Columbia University in 2006. He continued to serve as editor until 2011.


Institut für Kultur und Sozialanthropologie in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Österreichischen Lateinamerikainstituts


Mag. Marie-Therese Hartwig
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie