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“Only Versace”: Knock-Offs, Ostentation, and Desire amid the Mexican War on Drugs.

Abstract in spanish

Since the war on drugs began in 2007, Mexico has accumulated more than 250,000 murders and 70,000 disappearances. A complex landscape of criminal organisations has been shaping the violent conditions in the country, accompanied by an imaginary that projects their presence in multiple forms. We can identify a dire example with the bodies found in mass graves that are still wearing their clothes, often designer knock-offs inspired by the wardrobes of drug lords. In this scenario, I argue that an overlap exists between two underground economies: drug trafficking and counterfeit clothing. To understand this relation and its connection to criminal power, my analysis focuses on one of the basic aspects of organised crime: governance, especially its symbolic vein as well as its interpretation and dissemination through media outlets. The names of my interlocutors have been changed in order to protect their security.


Keywords: war on drugs,crime,symbolic governance,media outlets,knock-offs.
Author: Isaac Vargas. Maestro en Antropología Social por El Colegio de Michoacán, México. Alumno del Doctorado en Antropología de la Universidad de Toronto.
Received: May 05th, 2021, Accepted: July 04th, 2021
Revista de Antropología Visual - número 29 - Santiago, 2021 -1/17 pp.- ISSN 2452-5189