Date of Award

Summer 8-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor

Minju Kwon

Second Advisor

Angela Lederach

Third Advisor

Nancy Rios-Contreras


How do civilian women strategically steer their nonviolent social movements in reaction to the terrifying phenomena of forced disappearances under narco-violence? As a form of resistance, civilian women in Mexico have organized and joined groups to locate their missing family members and friends in response to risks posed by the pervasiveness of drug-related violence and the absence of official security services. Existing studies explore the role of women in peacebuilding initiatives to resist violence and obtain social change in Latin American countries. Still, there is limited research on the role of digital feminism in marginalized local collective groups, particularly under narco-violence. To fill in the gaps in research, this thesis project examines civilian women’s strategic use of social media to further their grassroots activism, from the case of the Familias Unidas Por Nuestros Desaparecidos Jalisco (FUNDEJ, Families United For Our Disappeared Jalisco) in Jalisco, Mexico in the 2020s. I argue that, per the notion of civilian women’s agency under narco-violence, these women strategically use social media platforms to advance their movement by utilizing social media that supports consolidating trans-local networks across different countries, states, and municipalities. Using YouTube videos, Facebook, and news media articles, I demonstrate that these civilian women have established strategies to conduct their movements by using social media for the following processes: (1) recruiting members, (2) documenting cases, (3) disseminating information, (4) conducting searches, and (5) pressuring politicians. This study theoretically contributes to the literature on digital feminism by emphasizing civilian women’s social media strategies under narco-violence, especially with a focus on trans-local learning processes. My findings also empirically expand the literature on civilian women’s resistance under narco-violence by incorporating new cases from non-metropolitan municipalities in Mexico.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Monday, August 31, 2026