Unprecedented crime rates have made Guatemala City one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Following a peace process that ended Central America's longest and bloodiest civil war and impelled the transition from a state-centric economy to the global free market, Guatemala's neoliberal moment is now strikingly evident in the practices and politics of security. Postwar violence has not prompted public debates about the conditions that permit transnational gangs, drug cartels, and organized crime to thrive. Instead, the dominant reaction to crime has been the cultural promulgation of fear and the privatization of what would otherwise be the state's responsibility to secure the city. This collection of essays, the first comparative study of urban Guatemala, explores these neoliberal efforts at security. Contributing to the anthropology of space and urban studies, this book brings together anthropologists and historians to examine how postwar violence and responses to it are reconfiguring urban space, transforming the relationship between city and country, and exacerbating deeply rooted structures of inequality and ethnic discrimination.Contributors. Peter Benson, Manuela Camus, Avery Dickins de Giron, Edward F. Fischer, Deborah Levenson, Thomas Offit, Kevin Lewis O'Neill, Kedron Thomas, Rodrigo Jose Veliz
Kevin Lewis O'Neill is Assistant Professor in the Department and Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is the author of City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatemala and a co-editor of Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation, also published by Duke University Press. Kedron Thomas is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University.
Acknowledgments vii Securing the City: An Introduction / Kedron Thomas, Kevin Lewis O'Neill, and Thomas Offit 1 Part One: Urban History and Social Experience Living Guatemala City, 1930s-2000s / Deborah Levenson 25 Primero de Julio: Urban Experiences of Class Decline and Violence / Manuela Camus 49 Cacique for a Neoliberal Age: A Maya Retail Empire on the Streets of Guatemala City / Thomas Offit 67 Privatization of Public Sphere: The Displacement of Street Vendors in Guatemala City / Rodrigo J. Veliz and Kevin Lewis O'Neill 83 Part Two: Guatemala City and Country The Security Guard Industry in Guatemala: Rural Communities and Urban Violence / Avery Dickins de Giron 103 Guatemala's New Violence as Structural Violence: Notes from the Highlands / Peter Benson, Kedron Thomas, and Edward F. Fischer 127 Spaces of Structural Adjustment in Guatemala's Apparel Industry / Kedron Thomas 147 Hands of Love: Christian Outreach and the Spatialization of Ethnicity / Kevin Lewis O'Neill 165 References 193 Contributors 213 Index 215