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After the Peace: The Contagion of Violence at the Margins of the Guatemalan State

From: Anthropological Quarterly
Volume 86, Number 4, Fall 2013
pp. 1031-1057 | 10.1353/anq.2013.0050



Formany of the international experts, humanitarian professionals, and newly appointed state workers determined to implement peace in Guatemala between 1996 and 2006, the imperative was clear: prevent further killing and protect human lives. For many Guatemalans, who continued to live with death as a part of their ordinary lives, this sort of peace was simply unimaginable. This article illuminates how powerful institutional forms of the state—dirty wars, the work of activism and impunity, and neoliberal reform—reconfigure deadly struggles and their aftermath. I conclude that an alternative way to evaluate peace processes is to consider their relationship to life, after the peace, where violent death is accepted as a condition of being.