Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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p. v

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Introduction

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pp. 1-17

Peace officially arrived in El Salvador on 16 January 1992. That day representatives of the government and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional, FMLN) signed accords in Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. The agreement, brokered by the United Nations, ended nearly twelve years of a civil ...

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Chapter 1: Big Stories and the Stories Behind the Stories

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pp. 18-50

As soon as we got to Cacaopera, they told me. They didn't say who had called. Or why. All afternoon that day back in June 1994, I had been riding around in the bed of a rattling pickup truck with four or five San Salvador friends who had invited me to their home village. I still have the pictures I took. Laughing children running alongside us on dirt roads shouting their ...

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Chapter 2: Critical Code-Switching and the State of Unexception

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pp. 51-82

San Salvador's midday news had been filled with lurid images of the morning's featured corpse. This one the body of a former guerrilla leader, limbs splayed on the street, blood and brain bits sprayed over the sidewalk. Reports say he was walking his toddler daughter to a daycare center on a busy avenue near the University of El Salvador when two strangers, ...

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Chapter 3: "Today They Rob You and They Kill You"

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pp. 83-112

Salvadoran postwar crime stories incited, and also were incited through, an acute sense of insecurity. In an atmosphere of unknowing, of wondering what would come next, people described postwar danger in terms of increasingly personal, or private, experience. This way of thinking contrasted with how many Salvadorans had conceived of war-era violence, as ...

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Chapter 4: Adventure Time in San Salvador

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pp. 113-138

It was one in the afternoon on Boulevard de los Heroes, in front of Metrocentro's vast glass-and-steel-and-brick shopping paradise.1 All around, cars, trucks, buses, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, grumbling, gunning. Waiting. Sun beating down. And in the car no A/C—still out. Leatherette seats biting sweaty thighs. ...

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Chapter 5: Democratic Disenchantment

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pp. 139-168

What happened next? World annals say democracy. "El Salvador is a constitutional, multiparty democracy," the U.S. Department of State pronounces authoritatively in its Country Report.1 Democracy was cropping up everywhere in the last decades of the twentieth century. By the time of El Salvador's peace accords, a "third wave" of global democratization, ...

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Chapter 6: Unknowing the Other

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pp. 169-204

No meaning is ever fully present. We may imagine revelation will come. Someday. Soon. We seek. We wait. The waiting can fill with dread: the barbarians, always just at the gate—or the National Guard, ever about to knock down the door. The waiting can also feel hopeful. The last chapter explored the not-yet meaning of the 1992 peace accords, full of democratic ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 205-214

I first posed this insistent query to provoke those who lost interest in El Salvador after 1992. So many of us wanted the story to end with the peace agreements that the Farabundo Martí National Liberation front (FMLN) guerrillas and the government signed that year. The surge of violence that followed was not in the script for peace. It was not the ...

Notes

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pp. 215-258

Bibliography

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pp. 259-280

Index

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pp. 281-290

Acknowledgments

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pp. 291-294