El Chapo for Presidente: An Examination of Leadership through Mexico’s Narcoculture


Patricia D. Catoira, Virginia K. Bratton


Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change


The Mexican government gloated when it captured drug lord Joaquin Guzmán in January 2016. But El Chapo is considered a folk hero by many Mexicans for standing up to highly corrupt authorities. These sentiments are reflected in the popular narcocorridos (songs about the drug world) and other forms of (narco) “pop culture.” Their celebration of narco figures and lifestyle is problematic, but, in the Mexican context, it responds to an endemic frustration with failed State and leadership. In this chapter, Catoria and Bratton investigate Guzmán’s manifestation of paternalistic charisma, his relationship with his followers as expressed in popular culture and the political and cultural context that has given rise to his leadership success in Mexico.



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