Ariadna Estévez López

Professor Estévez López received her doctorate in human rights from Sussex University in Brighton, UK; her master’s in political sociology from the City University in London, England; and her bachelor’s in journalism and collective communications from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is currently a full-time researcher at the Center for Research on North America (CISAN-UNAM). She is a Level-2 member of the National System of Researchers, and belongs to the Mexican Association of International Studies, the International Studies Association, and the International Sociological Association. She is a professor and advisor at the UNAM School of Social and Political Sciences, where she has given courses on forced migration and human rights and migration and human rights. Her area of expertise is the normative, socio-political study of international human rights and migration in North America. Her research current interests include migratory bio-politics in North America, the repercussions of necro-politics in the “grounded fear of persecution” in the right to asylum, the role of human rights vis-à-vis neoliberalism, de-colonized global justice and migrants’ rights, and universal citizenship and migrants’ rights. Her epistemological basis is in post-structuralism and the decoloniality of knowledge with an emphasis on bio-politics, governmentality, necro-politics, and floating signifiers.

She is the author of Human Rights, Migration and Social Conflict. Towards a Decolonized Global Justice (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012), also published in Spanish under the title Derechos humanos, migración y conflicto social. Hacia una justicia global descolonizada (Human Rights, Migration, and Social Conflict. Toward Decolonized  Global Justice) (CISAN-UNAM, 2014). She has published articles about migration and human rights in international journals such as The Human Rights Quarterly (United States); The International Journal of Human Rights (England); The Journal of Human Rights (United States); Glocalism: Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation (Italy); Alternatives: Global, Local Political (England); Contemporanea (Brazil); Lua Nova: Revista de Cultura e Politica (Brazil); Foro Internacional (Mexico); and Norteamérica (Mexico), among many others. Links for some of her publications can be found at

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Research Area: Strategic Studies
  • E-mail:

“Asylum Policy in the United States and Canada: Human Rights and Biopolitics” has the objective of investigating if the United States and Canada base their asylum policy on the restrictions in international human rights for refugees legislation to make it a continuation of a biopolicy toward Mexico. The empirical evidence determines how international human rights legislation about the persecuted should be broadened based on the fact that the current world security-dominated political order produces new kinds of conflict. The project examines the idea that, at least since 2001, the United States and Canada have implemented a biopolicy toward Mexico through their immigration, drug, and weapons policies, and that the denial of recent asylum applications from Mexicans is not independent of this, but rather a constituent part of it. This biopolicy’s fundamental objective is to contain Mexican immigration and intervene in and control security issues to maximize their own interests at the cost of Mexicans, who are seen as The Inferior Other.

“Human Rights and Universal Citizenship: A Comparative Analysis of Exclusion Linked to Migratory Flows in Great Britain, Spain, and North America” (February 2007-December 2010). This research proposed to contribute to the debate about the causal link between social, economic, political, and cultural exclusion of migrant populations and phenomena like organized crime and violent protests. The analysis of this causal relationship showed indications of how certain aspects of current migratory policy in North America and Europe (the securitization of cooperation for development and of borders, detention centers as part of tightening up asylum policy, the criminalization of migration, and the social marginalization caused by discrimination against migrants) create problems for receiving societies. The indications and conclusions from this evidence were the basis for the formulation of the normative proposal of decolonized global justice that is the foundation for recognizing universal citizenship, which in turn proposes migrants’ human right to mobility.

“Multidisciplinary Seminar on Human Rights”
This seminar began in 2008 with the initial objective of doing an extensive review of human rights themes and debates in the different social sciences. The result was the book Los derechos humanos en las ciencias sociales: una perspectiva multidisciplinaria. (Human Rights in the Social Sciences: A Multidisciplinary Perspective). The seminar began its second phase in 2011, taking an unexpected turn. Although we had planned to empirically debate the points covered in the first book, the increase in criminal and state violence in Mexico made us think that it was necessary to inquire into state-centered rights discourse and look into its emancipatory possibilities given that context. The result is a book that will be published in the first months of 2015.

In the seminar’s third stage, which began in 2013, we looked at a recurring issue in the previous discussions: the role of capitalism, both its economic dynamics and its political, discursive, cultural, and philosophical ones, in the generation of structural and momentary violence, or, from Žižek’s perspective, in its objective (structural), subjective (regarding agents), and symbolic (regarding language) dimensions. At different sessions of the seminar, the idea repeatedly came up that capitalism in its most recent discursive version, neoliberalism, plays a fundamental role in this violence. This, in turn, has created a crisis or dislocation of the human rights discourse in its legal bases, fundamentally, the obligation to respect and protect. We looked at this issue and found ourselves studying how capitalism as a mode of production, but also as a discourse that has transformed cultural consumption patterns, has incorporated the human body into the logic of the commodity and has auctioned off the most precious values of Western humanism.

Derechos humanos, migración y conflicto: hacia una justicia global descolonizada
Ariadna Estévez, México CISAN-UNAM, 2014, ISBN: 978-607-02-5177-1

Los derechos humanos en las ciencias sociales: una perspectiva multidisciplinaria
Ariadna Estévez y Daniel Vázquez, coords., México, Flacso/CISAN-UNAM, 2010. ISBN: 978-607-7629-38-2

Human Rights and Free Trade in Mexico
Ariadna Estévez, Nueva York, Palgrave McMillan, 2008. ISBN: 023-060-655-5, 978-023-060-655-5