1st Edition

Violent Memories Mayan War Widows In Guatemala

By Judith Zur Copyright 1998
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    356 Pages
    by Routledge

    This local study of the impact of political violence on a Maya Indian village is based on intensive fieldwork in the department of El Quich Guatemala, during 1988?1990. It examines the processes of fragmentation and realignment in a community undergoing rapid and violent change and relates local, social, cultural, and psychological phenomena to the impact of the war on widows' lives.Zur combines a narrative, life-history approach with anthropological analysis, emphasizing the way people talk about and explain the violence. She describes the survival strategies of widows and their attempts to reconstruct their lives, both on a physical level and in terms of meaning, and finds that ?remembering? is not simply the automatic engagement of the past within the present, but a process that allows widows to discover new possibilities for action and for reshaping their own positions in society.

    Acknowledgements, Map, Introduction, The Search for 'Emol', The Widows, The Anthropology of War, Organizational Structure of the Book, Notes, The Setting, Education and Language, Ethnic Diversity and Class, The Development of Religious Difference, Conclusion, Notes, Gender Relations Before 'La Violencia', Religion and Politics, Marriage and Remarriage, The Sexual Division of Labour, Conclusion, Notes, 'La Violencia', The Course of 'La Violencia', Characteristics of 'La Violencia', The Guerrilla, Conclusion, Notes, Village Patrols and Their Violence, The Army and the Patrols, Instituting the Patrols, Joining the Patrols, Kotoh's Public Massacre, Undermining the Social Fabric, Conclusion, Notes, Women's Lives as Widows (Malca'nib), Residence Following Widowhood, Female Headed Households, Attitudes to Remarriage, Relations with Others, Perceptions of Widows, Conclusion, Notes, Popular Memories of 'La Violencia', The War on Memory, Creating a Space for Memories, The Reworking of Narratives, The Reconstruction of the Self, Conclusion, Notes, The Dead, the Disappeared, and Clandestine Graves, The Costumbrista Death, Death During 'La Violencia', The Disappeared, The Missing Funeral, Grief, Reclaiming the Dead, Conclusion, Notes, K'iche' Theories of Causation and the Reconstruction of Meaning of 'La Violencia', Framing 'La Violencia', Interpreting 'La Violencia', The Reconstruction of Meaning, Notes, Cultural Construction and Reconstruction of Danger, Preparing for the Recognition of Danger, The Things Most Feared, Manipulating Concepts of Danger, Reconceptualizing Danger, The Repercussions of the Proliferation of Danger, Conclusion, Notes, The Exhumation and Beyond, Returning to Emol, The Exhumation in Emol, After the Exhumation, Children as Symbols of the Future, Conclusion, Notes, Epilogue, List of Acronyms, Bibliography, Index, Figure 1: "Soldier Saints", Figure 2: "Guerrilla Devils"


    Judith N. Zur is an independent scholar living in London.