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Rebecca Bell-Martin

Doctoral candidate in Political Science Brown University

Rebecca Bell-Martin

Residency: September 2022 – May 2023

Research Project: “It could have been me”: Empathy, civic engagement and violence in Mexico

Research Interests: Criminal and political violence, the politics of public security, democratization and political participation in Latin America, emotions and political behavior, mixed-methods research,      research in violent contexts

Rebecca Bell-Martin is an assistant professor (profesora investigadora) of government and social sciences at El Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, México. Her current research interrogates the relationship between organized crime, violence and democratic politics in Latin America. Three principle questions drive her work. First, what explains the relationship between individual experiences with criminal violence and political participation? Second, why do some – but not all – acts of criminal violence generate political outcry? Third, how do civilian political responses to violence shape justice processes? Bell-Martin explores these questions using an interdisciplinary approach that draws on theory and methods from political science, anthropology and psychology, typically in a mixed-methods design. Her present book project draws on more than 16 months of ethnographic field research in Mexico, paired with behavioral experiments and large-n survey analysis from within Mexico and beyond.

Bell-Martin’s collaborative research includes an original dataset that measures variation in the characteristics of spectacle associated with criminal and political violence, qualitative research on the survival strategies citizens living amidst criminal violence adopt and geospatial analysis of the relationship between crime and urban expansion. She has also published on normative and empirical considerations for carrying out research in violent contexts. Bell-Martin earned her B.A. in political science, comparative cultures and Spanish language from Whittier College, her M.A. in international studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and her Ph.D. in political science from Brown University.