José Manuel Valenzuela

José Manuel Valenzuela Arce holds a doctorate in social sciences with a specialization in sociology from the College of Mexico and a master’s in regional development from the College of the Northern Border. His pioneering work has shed light on the sociocultural processes that define the Mexican-U.S. border and youth movements in Latin America and the United States. He is regarded as a preeminent scholar in both of these areas of study and has garnered wide esteem in Mexico and Latin America for his work in the cultural studies field.

His contributions include germinal work in the study of strategic cultural processes, notably focusing on new social identities and sociocultural practices tied to drug trafficking. His research has also addressed themes related to culture and national identity, urban sociology, and popular culture.

He has worked at the College of the Northern Border since 1982. He has been a research professor in the Department of Cultural Studies of the College of the Northern Border since 1988 and he currently holds the position of Secretary-General for Academic Affairs at the college. He has been a member of the National Council of Science and Technology’s National System of Researchers since 1989, classified as a Level III researcher since 2006, and has belonged to the Mexican Academy of Sciences since 1993. He was director of the Department of Cultural Studies (1990-1993; 1999-2003 and 2012-2013) and of the Unidad Regional Norte de Culturas Populares (1993-1994), as well as founder of the Unidad de Tijuana de la Dirección General de Cultura Populares (DGCP) during this same time period. Additionally, he served as director of the College of the Northern Border’s journal Frontera Norte (1995-1998).



His works have been published in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, German and French. He is the author of 15 books as sole writer, 15 as coordinator, and 6 reissued books as co-author. He has also published 92 chapters in books and 66 articles in academic and popular journals. His book jefe de jefes. Corridos y narcocultura en México (2001) (Chief of Chiefs. Corrido and Narcocultura en México) obtained the International Award Casa de las Américas, Cuba 2001. Three others have been recognized with the Honorable Mention of the Fray Bernardino de Sahagún National Prize for Social Anthropology (¡A la brava ese! Cholos, punks y chavos banda, 1987; El color de las sombras. Chicanos, identidad y racismo, 1998; Jefe de jefes. Corridos y narcocultura en México, (2003).

His most recent books are Juvenicidio. Ayotzinapa y las vidas precarias en América Latina y España, Coord. (2015) (Juvenicide. Ayotzinapa and precarious lives in Latin America and Spain). El sistema es antinosotros. Culturas, movimientos y resistencias juveniles, Coord. (2015) (The system is anti-us. Youth cultures, movements, and resistances), Transfronteras. Fronteras del mundo y procesos culturales, Coord. (2014) (Cross-border. World borders and cultural processes) Tropeles juveniles. Culturas e identidades (trans)fronetrizas (2014, coordinación) (Youth troops. Cultures and identities (cross) border), Sed de mal. Feminicidio, jóvenes y exclusión social (2012) (Thirst for evil. Femicide, youth and social exclusion), Nosotros. Arte, cultura e identidad en la frontera México-Estados Unidos (2012) (We. Art, culture and identity on the United States-Mexico border), and Welcome amigos to Tijuana. Graffiti en la frontera (2012, coordinación) (Welcome friends to Tijuana. Graffiti on the border).

In addition, he has the following author publications: Tijuanas invisibles: de sueños, miedos y deseos, 2012. (Invisibles Tijuanas: of Dreams, Fears and Desires). Nosotros. Arte, cultura e identidad en la frontera México-Estados Unidos, (2012) (We. Art, culture, and identity on the United States-Mexico border). Impecable y Diamantina. P.S. Democracia adulterada y proyecto nacional, (2009) (Flawless and Diamond. PS Adulterated democracy and national project). El futuro ya fue. Socioantropología de l@s jóvenes en la modernidad (2009) (The future is already. Socioanthropology of young people in modernity). Paso del Nortec. This is Tijuana, (2004).Vida de Barro Duro. Cultura popular juvenil e grafite, (1999). El color de las sombras: chicanos, identidad y racismo, (1998) (The color of the shadows: Chicanos, identity and racism). Nuestros Piensos. Las culturas populares en la frontera México-Estados Unidos, México, (1998) (Our Feed. Popular cultures on the United States-Mexico border, Mexico). El umbral de la filera, (1993) (The threshold of the filera). Empapados de Sereno. El movimiento urbano popular de 1928-1988, (1991) (Soaked in Sereno. The popular urban movement of 1928-1988). El movimiento urbano popular en Tijuana (1987) (The popular urban movement in Tijuana).


Research project as CALAS fellow

Title: Strokes of blood and mud. Juvenicide, narcoculture and bio-necropolitics


The devastating features of capitalism produce millions of victims, among which are people injured, mutilated, and murdered by means of death devices such as wars, poverty, genocide, repression, narco-violence, feminicide, juvenicide, infanticide, racism, and social cleansing. Unfortunately, these scenarios are not new in social history and they certainly are not in the long history of capitalism.

The globalized condition of the contemporary world, defined by the destructive features of late capitalism, has placed the life-death relationship at the center of the social, humanistic, ecological, and artistic discussion, warning that the predatory dimension of the international capitalist order has accentuated the processes poverty and social inequality, as well as the scenarios of violence and death that involve people, the planet and life itself. The bloody condition of contemporary capitalism has fostered interpretative perspectives that accentuate the bloody and deadly obituary that defines it, therefore we need to analyze the necropolitical ones, considering the dynamics, technologies, and actors of death that act and unfold from the spheres of power.

Several authors have recovered this feature to rethink the world we live in through the discussion on biopolitics, necropolitics, juvenicide, and narcoculture, concepts that I will discuss in this paper, as well as the conformation of distinguishing features of some sectors of the high and middle classes that emphasize economic, social and cultural inequality, as occurs with the racist and classist expression of the mirreyes.