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Profiting From Pablo: Victimhood and Commercialism in A Global Society

British Journal of Criminology

Published online on


Collective memory of atrocities is a fractured and disputed terrain. In this article, we empirically explore the complex process of translating violent events that took place in Medellín during the 1980s and 1990s into collective memory. It examines the conflict between Medellín inhabitants’ (in)ability to overcome trauma and shape their collective identity and the power of global media representations, exemplified by popular TV shows such as Narcos, to impose their narratives and consequently shape the present nature of the city. Drawing on original empirical material, consisting of ethnographic observations and interviews with residents of Medellín, including victims of narco-violence, this paper examines processes of memory commodification and its consequences on the global recognition of victimhood.