Femicide Video Series

Representation as a technology of violence: On the representation of the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women in Canada and women in Ciudad Juarez

North America


This article focuses on the press coverage of the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women in Canada and women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to analyze the relationship between the representation of violence and the violence of representation. It takes as its point of departure the notion of representation as a technology of violence that has both discursive and material effects. Drawing on the concept of abjection, I argue that the discursive construction of these women as social waste simultaneously organizes the narratives of Canadian and Mexican newspapers, as well as the historically grounded social construction of gender and race in these two countries. Through a discourse analysis, I examine the distinction between “innocent” and “immoral” women, the image of the psychopath, and the portrayal of the murdered women's remains as forensic evidence as gendered and racialized narratives that construct these women as disposable and render invisible the violence perpetrated against them. This article is only accessible with journal subscription.

External Authors

Paulina García-Del Moral
In comparing the representation of these murders and disappearances, it is not my intention to equate Canada with Mexico or these women's experiences of violence. Rather, the aim of this comparative analysis is to gain a better understanding of representation as constitutive of processes through which gender and race are constructed in relation to material and structural conditions in different social and historical contexts (Glenn 1999). A comparison between Canada and Mexico might not seem straightforward at the outset, given each country's distinctive cultural history. Yet, Canada and Mexico have come to share economic ties through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that have gone beyond economic change.




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