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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Neighborhood Organizations, Local Accountability and the Rule of Law in Two Mexican Municipalities


This paper focuses on the role of neighborhood associations as the primary intermediaries between residents and municipal government. Drawing from fieldwork in two metropolitan municipalities of the State of México, it identifies the ways that residents interact with local government authorities as they express their concerns about public safety and policing, as well as their ideas and demands for responses to these issues. The research has important implications for all three aspects of the rule of law discussed in this volume. It touches on the ways that leaders of neighborhood associations perceive and respond to issues of public order within their jurisdictions; it considers the accountability of municipal officials to their constituents; and, by comparing conditions and patterns in two sharply contrasting localities (Huixquilucan and Nezahualcóyotl), it encompasses questions of access to justice on both individual and neighborhood bases. However, the paper concludes that the principal problem facing residents concerned about public security is not systematic discrimination based on socioeconomic status, but rather, the obstacles that typical neighborhood councils face in prompting municipal governments to take action.

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