PhD Project

Development, Violent Conflict and Youth Recruitment by Organised Crime: The Mexican Case


Drawing from the fields of sociology, economics, organised crime and civil war literature, this research project aims to understand the relationship between macro-socioeconomic structures and micro-motivations behind the massive recruitment of young males into criminal organisations after the onset of the violent ‘war on drugs’ in Mexico in 2006. Using mixed methods approach, one of the main objectives of this study is to build a middle range theory of the political economy of violent conflict related to organised crime in developing countries.

A special focus of this project is to comprehend how inequality, social mobility and development geographical divergences in Mexico are part of a structuration scheme that creates significance for young male to participate in violent activities that enabled drug related organisations to recruit enough persons to confront the militarised prosecution of the Mexican government. Especially, this research purpose is to find how the youth male bulge Mexico and his precarious conditions of low social mobility, low education rates and underemployment created a ‘reserve army of labour’ for enriched drug related organisations, and to frame how narco culture, individualistic aspirations and male violent roles motivated youth for participating in violent activities.