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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

La estructura social y su impacto en la violencia
by Ríos Cruz, Elsa Iris, D.P.H., University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences (Puerto Rico), 2018, 320; 10822851
Abstract (Summary)

Violence has been considered a global problem of Public Health. According to the World Report on Violence and Health of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2002), each year more than 1.6 million people lose their lives violently, being considered one of the first causes of death in the population between 15 and 44 years. Violence is also responsible for 14 percent of deaths in the male population and 7 percent in the female population.

The WHO divided violence into three categories, these are: 1) violence directed towards itself, 2) interpersonal violence, and 3) collective violence. This work focuses on interpersonal violence, which is the violence one person inflicts on another or on a small group of people. Some examples of interpersonal violence are: the mistreatment of children, the elderly and women, youth violence, rape and violence, including murder. According to WHO, even when violence is divided into several categories, they share risk factors such as alcohol and drug abuse, firearms, and economic and social inequalities. Thus, the prevention of one type of violence impacts the other.

This work considered interpersonal violence, particularly murders and homicides, related to the illegal drug market in Puerto Rico. On the island, death caused by interpersonal violence, such as murders and homicides, is among the leading causes of death, overcoming deaths from chronic diseases, HIV and suicide.

The population most affected by interpersonal violence is in productive age (20 to 39 years old) and the majority are male. The most recent statistics of the Puerto Rico Police show a relationship between the population that suffers the most mortality due to interpersonal violence and the market for illegal drugs. It should be noted that, in the Report of the National Intelligence Center of Drugs of the Department of Justice of the United States of 2008, the Caribbean zone comprising Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was classified as an area of high drug trafficking.

Among the negative externalities of the drug market, we can find the imprisonment and death and the application by the state of punitive policies, based on the War on Drugs, of the United States of America (USA). This has been responsible for the increase in the prison population in the USA and Puerto Rico. It has been suggested that this War is an instrument of social control against marginalized populations. In the case of Puerto Rico, against half of the population that is below the poverty level.

Taking into consideration what was discussed, a study was carried out with a descriptive exploratory design, of a qualitative nature. It was possible to collect information on the social determinants and context of a population of convicted murders related to the illegal drug market in Puerto Rico. The study identified the following aspects in this population: 1) Socioeconomic position that limited access to goods, services, work and education, 2) Exposure in childhood and adolescence to illegal drugs and firearms, which was transferred to the same practice in adult life, 3) Witnesses of violent situations in the home and victims of some type of abuse, 4) Prosecuted by directly or indirectly engaging with the illegal drug market, 5) Structural violence in the correctional system and lack of alternatives to reintegrate into society. From the narratives of the participants, discourses of domination and resistance were identified, such as: 1) Economic precariousness against the need for consumption, 2) Inequity and oppression, 3) Hegemonic masculinity, 4) Defensive violence, 5) Resistance to the eradication discourse of illegal drugs, and 6) Community strategies to resist the inequity and oppression coming from the social structure.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rodríguez-Madera, Sheilla L.
Commitee: Albizu-García, Carmen E., García-Toro, Víctor I.
School: University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences (Puerto Rico)
Department: Public Health
School Location: United States -- Puerto Rico
Source: DAI-B 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public health, Criminology, Social structure
Keywords: Confinados, Criminología crítica, Determinantes sociales, Foto etnografía, Mercado de drogas ilegales, Violencia
Publication Number: 10822851
ISBN: 978-0-355-97905-3
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