Dr Camilo Tamayo Gomez

Dr Camilo Tamayo Gomez


I joined the University of Leeds as a Research Fellow in June 2018 to work on the project 'Mobile Solutions to the Mexican Kidnapping Epidemic: Beyond Elite Counter-Measures Towards Citizen-Led Innovation'. This research project focusses upon kidnapping and its effects in Mexico, and also in the US-Mexico borderlands. It examines the techniques that Mexican citizens are developing to counter this threat in a context of impunity and mass distrust of law enforcement.

Kidnapping has emerged as a major source of societal insecurity in Mexico. However, despite the far-reaching trauma that it has delivered, it has received only limited academic attention to date. We know little about its patterns, or its effects. In this project we work to shed new light on this illicit industry. We explore its forms, its consequences, and various ‘mobile solutions’ that have emerged to counter kidnapping. These include strategies such as: internal/external migration; cross-border security services; escort security; and, everyday practices and technologies that Mexican citizens use to secure and track their movements. Our ambitions extend beyond examining these multiple mobilities, to also produce answers to the key project question: how do you counter kidnapping when you cannot access private solutions or rely on the state?

Before joining the University of Leeds, I was the Coordinator of the Political Communication, Local Peacebuilding and Human Rights Programme at EAFIT University (Colombia, 2015 - 2018). I previously worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP - Latin America Regional Centre) as an Associate Expert (2009 - 2015), and as a Research Fellow at the Social Research Centre and Popular Education (CINEP), from 2005 to 2008, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation (FES-C3) from 2004 to 2008. 

I hold a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Huddersfield, an MA in Global Citizenship Identities and Human Rights from the University of Nottingham, and a BA (First Class) in Media Studies and Social Communication from Javeriana University (Colombia).


  • Research Fellow Project 'Mobile Solutions to the Mexican Kidnapping Epidemic' (Newton Fund)

Research interests

My research interests focuses on the relationship between violence, human rights and security from a socio-political perspective. It explores how social movements and victims of armed conflict and violent contexts are implementing communicative citizenship actions to claim human rights and security in local and regional public spheres; and how these actions are affecting the construction of political and cultural memory, dimensions of social recognition, and degrees of solidarity and power in divided societies.

I have explored normative and positive models and integrated sociological theories to understand the impact of crime and violence on society, taking into account inequality, culture, exclusion, illegality, geopolitical considerations and poverty in order to find explanations regarding the impact of these topics in particular Latin American contexts.

I have also approached network theories to explore the role of transnational actors and multilateral institutions in contexts of high levels of violence. I analysed how transnational political actions and transnational communicative actions can help to restore levels of democracy and human development in divided societies.

I have research experience addressing multi–strategy qualitative approaches. Recent examples include; the development of semi-structured interviews, oral histories and focus groups to complete my doctoral research, the implementation of a participative action research approach (PAR) to understand the cycles of violence and crime in five neighbourhoods of Medellin (Colombia), and the elaboration of collaborative cartographies and time lines with local communities in Colombia and Argentina to explore their mentalities regarding the relationship between peace, territory and human rights.

I undertook structured interviews to comprehend the topics of modern slavery and child soldiers in Colombia. With the use of visual methods (icons, maps, photography, on-line memes, public demonstrations and murals) I analysed how victims of forced disappearance in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina claimed for their human rights in the public sphere. Recently, I have started to use webmatrix and netnography to identify how victims of armed conflict use micro blogging (particularly Twitter) to demonstrate and demand rights.

My research work emphases the role of citizens, social movements and the third sector to change contexts of insecurity and violence, and how local and national governments can create security strategies having the respect of human rights are a central aspect. As a consequence, I use the theoretical framework of Sociology of Rights to underpin the responsibility of the state to create public policy in order to improve conditions of security and human development.          

Find out more about my previous research work.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Politics and International Studies. The University of Huddersfield (UK).
  • MA in Global Citizenship, Identities and Human Rights. The University of Nottingham (UK).
  • PG Course in Political Philosophy. The University of Oxford (UK).
  • BA (First Class) in Media Studies and Social Communication. Javeriana University (Colombia).

Professional memberships

  • Member of the International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • Board Member (2018 – 2022) of the Research Committee on Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change (RC48) of the International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • Member of the British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • Member of the BSA Sociology of Rights Study Group and Sociology of Emotions Study Group
  • Member of the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR)
  • Member of REDICOM (Communication, Human Rights and Sociology Latin American Network)
  • Editor of Grassroots, RC48 Newsletter (ISA)

Student education

I contribute teaching to the Module 'New Frontiers of Security, Conflict and Justice' in the MSc Security, Conflict and Justice.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Criminal Justice Studies