1st Edition

Democratization and Memories of Violence Ethnic minority rights movements in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador

By Mneesha Gellman Copyright 2017
    226 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    242 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ethnic minority communities make claims for cultural rights from states in different ways depending on how governments include them in policies and practices of accommodation or assimilation. However, institutional explanations don’t tell the whole story, as individuals and communities also protest, using emotionally compelling narratives about past wrongs to justify their claims for new rights protections.

    Democratization and Memories of Violence: Ethnic minority rights movements in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador examines how ethnic minority communities use memories of state and paramilitary violence to shame states into cooperating with minority cultural agendas such as the right to mother tongue education. Shaming and claiming is a social movement tactic that binds historic violence to contemporary citizenship. Combining theory with empirics, the book accounts for how democratization shapes citizen experiences of interest representation and how memorialization processes challenge state regimes of forgetting at local, state, and international levels. Democratization and Memories of Violence draws on six case studies in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador to show how memory-based narratives serve as emotionally salient leverage for marginalized communities to facilitate state consideration of minority rights agendas.

    This book will be of interest to postgraduates and researchers in comparative politics, development studies, sociology, international studies, peace and conflict studies and area studies.

    1. Why Communities Shame and Claim

    2. Memory, Violence, and Shaming and Claiming in Acteal, Chiapas, Mexico

    3. The Fight for Triqui Autonomy in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, Mexico

    4. Turkey: Memory, "Mountain Turks," and the Politics of Turkification

    5. Armenians and the "G" Word in Turkey

    6. Nahuas in El Salvador: Negating "Pupusas" But Eating Them Too

    7. Cultural Erosion: Fragile Lenca Persistence in Morazán, El Salvador

    8. Dynamics of Shaming and Claiming in Comparative Perspective

    9. Conclusion: Memory Matters in Shaming and Claiming


    Mneesha Gellman is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emerson College, Boston, USA.

    "From its main question, to its principal lines of argumentation, to its selection of empirical cases, Democratization and Memories of Violence is an important contribution to comparative politics. It demonstrates with uncommon skill how communities across nations and time use the memories of violence to elicit responses from the state and the conditions under which this type of mobilization proves successful." — Omar G. Encarnación, Professor of Political Studies, Bard College, USA

    "Mneesha Gellman’s Democratization and Memories of Violence brilliantly moves among social movement theory, memory studies, and the strictures of political science to demonstrate how marginalized communities around the world do "shaming and claiming" so states recognize and at times heeding their demands. In doing so, Gellman herself exercises the best of what students of memory and social movements bring to the table: she gives voice to some of the most voiceless of Mexico, El Salvador and Turkey, she makes visible and absolutely politically relevant those who are conventionally rendered less visible. Gellman’s work is instructive for memory and comparative democratization debates across quite distinct global regions." — Katherine Hite, Professor of Political Science, Frederick Ferris Thompson Chair, Vassar College, USA

    "This book is an excellent resource and contributes greatly to ongoing conversations in the humanities and social sciences on social memory, politics of memory, the relation of ethnic minorities to the state, indigeneity and identity formation, social movements, democracy and democratic transitions—and more." — Ellen Moodie, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA