Masters Thesis

The Narcocorrido and the construction of a transnational identity

The narcocorrido or drug ballad is a subgenre of the traditional Mexican corrido. Characterized as a violent and drug themed music, the narcocorrido is often criticized for its glorification of the narcolifestyle as it often depicts stories related to the narco-subcultural activities of Mexico such as the feats of infamous drug lords, criminal organizations, drug trafficking, drug production, coercion, confrontations with the law, murder, torture, and violent territory conflict. However, this research study argues that the narcocorrido is more than a glorification of the narcolifestyle. Rather, the narcocorrido has the potential to configure a sense of transnational identity among Mexican American youth in the United States, functioning as a significant site and source for the construction and articulation of Mexican cultural identity. Through a qualitative content analysis, this research examined the lyrics of 198 narcocorridos between 1990 and 2012 which expressed the presence of a cultural model with distinctive and valued traits such as bravery, determination, loyalty, intelligence and diligence while also articulating a strong Mexican identity. This cultural persona along with the affirmations of Mexican identity carries with it the potential to inform youth of a Mexican cultural identity and provide an opportunity to construct a sense of transnationality. Additional findings of the analysis also expressed a decrease in the presence of drugs and an increase in violence overtime.

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