HOLIDAY SALE! Get 40% off all titles plus free shipping with discount code HOLIDAY21-FM at checkout.

We are experiencing COVID-related supply chain delays. Please note, orders are currently taking 10-15 days to be delivered.
We thank you for your understanding and patience.
Penn Press logo
Guatemalans in the Aftermath of Violence
Search the full text of this book:

Powered by Google

Guatemalans in the Aftermath of Violence
The Refugees' Return

Kristi Anne Stølen

256 pages | 6 x 9 | 6 illus.
Cloth 2007 | ISBN 9780812240085 | $65.00s | Outside the Americas £52.00
A volume in the series Ethnography of Political Violence

"This work contributes in significant ways to the literature dealing with Guatemala as well as political violence in general. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice
In the early 1980s the Guatemalan army unleashed a scorched-earth campaign against civilians suspected of supporting antigovernment guerrilla forces. Faced with violent repression, indigenous people found various ways to survive. Some joined the guerrilla ranks, some fell in with so-called self-defense patrols controlled by the army, while others crossed the Mexican border to seek safety. In the mid-1990s, after more than a decade in refugee camps, the displaced migrants returned to Guatemala as retornados and started to rebuild their lives.

Guatemalans in the Aftermath of Violence highlights the complex survival strategies of the returnees and their neighbors who had stayed behind. Anthropologist Kristi Anne Stølen lived among the Guatemalan peasants, gathering firsthand testimonies of their struggles. Their varied voices and differing points of view shed light on many facets of violence: the dynamics of its escalation, its destructive force, and its power to engender community and identity. By showing that for many refugees, exile did not always mean deprivation and victimization, but often recognition and even empowerment, Stølen dispels the simplistic notion that those exposed to violence are merely its helpless casualties.

With lessons learned through interaction with the international aid and solidarity community during the years of exile, the returnees managed to reconstruct community and identity in a changed environment. This study of their efforts illustrates how poor and exploited people are able to endure, utilizing whatever opportunities they find to improve their lot.

Kristi Anne Stølen is Professor and Research Director at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo. She is the author or editor of several books, including In the Maze of Displacement: Migration, Conflict and Change.

View your shopping cart | Browse Penn Press titles in Human Rights, Law, Political Science | Join our mailing list

Penn Press | Site Use and Privacy Policy
Report Accessibility Issues and Get Help | University of Pennsylvania
Copyright © 2021 University of Pennsylvania Press | All rights reserved