Analysts of war and states construe paramilitary violence in terms of excessive responses to insurgencies too powerful to be quelled by means of conventional warfare (see, for example, Sluka 2000). But the case of the crumbling state of Colombia hints at a more complex relationship between the various practitioners of political violence; what used to be state-sanctioned rural militias are building their own political platform and claiming a place in the troubled negotiations between state and insurgency. This short essay grapples with the paramilitary function of state power in two Latin American countries that survived the Cold War, wounded but alive only to find their fate sealed by a new world order.
Guatemala, Colombia, and Israel
Violence, home, and the transforming space of popular protest in Central America
This article is about the changing meaning of home among people engaged in the Guatemalan guerrilla movement. It shows that during the war, the revolutionary committed struggled for home more in terms of communal spheres of insurgent societal transformation than in terms of the defense or reconstruction of family or house. Though the counterinsurgency state was bent on their annihilation, it was only with the implementation of liberal peace that their commitment was ultimately destroyed. Most of them then opted for 'return' to their pre-war settlements and they gave up the political project of preserving their progressive civil organization. 'Home' under liberal peace in post-revolutionary Central America is continuously held together mainly by the migration of youth in search of opportunities elsewhere as hope for improved living conditions has become a question no longer of transforming but of leaving society in order to save oneself and/or one's household. The notion of liberal emplacement is brought forward in this article to conceptualize the destruction of political movement through the creation of an individualized necessity of spatial movement.
Movement, violence, and the making of home
Stef Jansen and Staffan Löfving
By giving an extensive literature review and presenting the central objectives of this theme section, this introductory article develops a programmatic call for a critical anthropology of 'home' in relation to violence and place. Challenging assumptions that territoriality, rootedness, and memories of violence are necessarily the primary determinants of identification among people on the move, it proposes conceptual tools to investigate how and when such discourses may provide or prohibit the making of 'home'. In particular, it draws attention to issues of political and economic transformation and the changing forms of violence and movement produced by them.
Glenn Bowman, Charles W. Brown, Gerard Corsane, Ian Fairweather, Allen Feldman, Amiria Henare, Caroline Ifeka, Bruce Kapferer, Anne Krogstad, Sandra Langley, Yngve Lithman, Staffan Löfving, Leif Manger, Heidi Moksnes, Carolyn Nordstrom, Peter Probst, K. Ravi Raman, Jakob Rigi, Eleanor Rimoldi and Christopher C. Taylor
Notes on Contributors