Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 October 2020
Because hit men in the twenty-first-century Mexican drug war engage in paid labor at the extreme end of dehumanizing economic relations, they expose the shifting notions of work, life, and ethics that support contemporary global capitalism. Hannah Arendt's distinctions between labor, work, and action structure this comparative analysis of two 2010 narratives featuring Mexican hit men: a testimonial text titled El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin and a feature film titled El infierno. These texts explore the subject-producing as well as the destructive effects of murder for hire. Alain Badiou's Ethics illuminates how when professional killing becomes a way of life, it provocatively complicates concepts of the good and the human.