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(Un)Imagining the State: Guatemalan Lynchings and the Erosion of the State’s Monopoly of Violence.

Weston, G., 2011. (Un)Imagining the State: Guatemalan Lynchings and the Erosion of the State’s Monopoly of Violence. Etnofoor, 23 (2), 79-98.

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When the Guatemalan state created the Civil Patrol System (PAC) in the early eighties it cynically deferred part of their ‘monopoly of legitimate violence’ (Weber 1918; Giddens 1985) into the hands of rural civilians. By the end of the conflict in 1996 these patrols had eroded local hierarchies and established new militarised ones (Burrell 2007) with new patterns of violent self-regulation becoming normalised. When the democratic transition failed to meet expectations of justice (Rothenberg 1998), vigilante lynchings emerged to satisfy the deficiencies left by an underfunded, corrupt and inadequate criminal justice system, with former PAC’s playing key roles in the planning and execution of these violent acts. Grounded in research in the Guatemala’s highlands this article explores how the state’s failure to impose it’s ‘imagining’ (Anderson 1983) upon a post-conflict Guatemala has led to an oscillation of legitimacy and violence between state and non-state actors which undermines their monopoly.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:vigilantism; Guatemala; anthropology of the state; violence; postwar
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:37620
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 Oct 2022 09:02
Last Modified:20 Oct 2022 09:02


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