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Security, Autonomy, and Indigenous Justice: The Alternative Security Model of Cherán, Michoacán


This study focuses on the alternative security model of the municipality of Cherán, Michoacán. Due to violence, insecurity, and weak institutions incapable or unwilling to combat these issues, the community has created alternative practices that are based on community participation. The creation of an alternative model of security, development of a communal government and establishment of a legal system based on usos y costumbres has empowered the community to practice indigenous justice at the margins of the state.

This study is based on ethnographic fieldwork and 18 semi-structured interviews that took place in August and September 2015. I conclude that through the creation of a security system, legal system and government system, the municipality has been able to create a parallel power to the state, while also contesting the state’s monopoly on the use of force.

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