UCL Institute of the Americas


Forced Internal Displacement Triggered by Organised Crime in Central Mexico

23 October 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Event image for Forced Internal Displacement Triggered by Organised Crime in Central Mexico

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Daisy Voake


Room 103
Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

Morna Macleod’s presentation analyses individual forced displacement in Central Mexico triggered by the current context of violence and organised crime. The presentation is based on ongoing research from an anthropological perspective. It draws on in-depth interviews, existing research and investigative journalism, and explores the triggers and impact that forced displacement is having on people from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Through the lens of diverse internally displaced persons (IDP), Macleod pieces together the dynamics of organised crime and (non)state actors operating locally in different areas of Central Mexico. She argues that organised crime and its combat by the state does not fall easily into existing UN categories of Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP). By tracing individual IDP trajectories, it is possible to reach a clearer understanding of this arguably new modality of conflict in Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala). This differs from Latin America’s dictatorships in the Southern Cone and internal armed conflicts in Central America, though shares certain communalities with Colombia. In contrast to Colombia, where the government has recognised the issue through a law and reparation programs, in Mexico forced internal displacement triggered by violence remains an invisibilised, silenced and widespread human rights violation.

About the Speaker

Morna Macleod

Morna Macleod is a professor and researcher at the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos in Mexico. She has a doctorate in Latin American Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City. Currently working on the impact of organized crime and the triggers of forced individual and family displacement in Central Mexico, she coordinates a monthly seminar (virtual and face-to-face) on Internal Forced Displacement with academics, students and practitioners in different institutions in Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Central America. Her recent co-authored books include Resisting Violence. Emotional Communities in Latin America (Palgrave, 2018) and Violencias graves en Morelos. Una mirada sociocultural (UAEM, 2016). Before joining academia, Macleod worked on human rights in Chile and Guatemala, in Oxfam, and as an independent consultant. Previously, her academic work focussed on Guatemala, particularly with indigenous movements and Mayan women.