Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Karim Mattar

Abstract

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration sought to combat the rampant growth in the production, circulation, and consumption of illicit drugs globally with aggressive militaristic action. Despite its vehement intervention into and parallel to globalized capitalism, the drug trade was deemed socially and economically deviant. The Reagan administration imbued a rhetorical domain which seemingly justified the use of extremely oppressive cultural, social, and militaristic tactics against already marginalized populations. The collective memory of the War on Drugs in the Americas is forever influenced by this marking and portrayal of difference.

Media representations take on many forms and are direct products of the cultures from which they come. Representations, therefore, carry intrinsic hegemonic biases and are intensely pervaded by ideological objectives and preexisting power structures which catalyze the global system of capitalism. Within the ever-growing canon of narco themed “literature,” contemporary television adaptations seek to retell the story of the Medellín cartel and organized crime in South America and warrant critical intervention and comparison given that they vary dramatically. Despite the fact that all of the aforementioned representations attempt to proctor an objective retelling of drug trade history in both their cinematographic and narrative elements, the inconsistencies instead reveal a failure to account for the underlying tensions of globalized capitalism and the continued perpetuation of inequality.

Available for download on Saturday, April 13, 2019

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