Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Narco-terrorism--Mexico; Narco-terrorism--Mexico--Terminology; Murder victims--Mexico; Corpse removals--Mexico; Corpse removals--Mexico--Terminology;


Though the exact number is unknown, estimates indicate the trade and movement of narcotics have resulted in over 60,000 murders of Mexican citizens. As a result of the rising narcoviolence, Felipe Calderón, early in his presidential administration, made the “War on Drugs” a top priority. Despite this effort to curb the violence, in 2010 alone, more than 15,200 lifeless bodies have been left across Mexico, most likely by drug cartels. A nascent phrase, body dumps, has risen in journalistic reports describing this conscious relocation of the ruined corpse to highly visible traffic areas. This thesis explores the rhetorical constructions of the discourses and labor surrounding body dump practices.

Current rhetorical journalistic practices reduce victims to their bodies, then to an indiscriminate aggregate of bodies, and then they liken the bodies to waste needing to be removed from public consciousness. Further, body dump practices adulterate and disturb sites of cultural and historical significance. I use the monument to Christopher Columbus, located in Nuevo Laredo, as a case study to examine the ways rhetorical places are used as a soundboard by the state and drug cartels to communicate messages of control.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Communication Studies

First Advisor

Catherine H. Palczewski, Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Danielle Dick McGeough, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 68 pages)