• Subaltern Political Practices and Attitudes of Consent and Dissent during the Armed Conflict in Guatemala.

    Author(s):
    Joren Janssens (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Subject(s):
    Subjectivity, History, Latin American cultural studies, Politics, Latin America
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    EUROPEAN SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORY CONFERENCE, SESSION ON ‘NEW RESEARCH IN LATIN AMERICA
    Conf. Org.:
    ESSHC
    Conf. Loc.:
    Belfast
    Conf. Date:
    6th April 2018
    Tag(s):
    Subaltern studies, Guatemala, attitude
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6G44HQ2Z
    Abstract:
    The scholarly debate on the Guatemalan armed conflict continues to gravitate around the question of how the masses, and especially its indigenous sectors, understood and responded to the conflict between guerrilla and state sectors. This paper argues that an emphasis on passive victimhood and a theoretical fixation on resistance have obscured our understanding of subaltern politics by creating an artificial and binary opposition of subjugated victims and revolutionary agents. A bibliographic exploration will demonstrate how this dichotomy has translated into a romanticized historiography on the Guatemalan armed conflict. This deficit maintains a pact of silence on the ample historic indications for widespread army collaboration as well as a blindness towards the often ambivalent independent actions and attitudes with which subalterns joined in or evaded multisided pressures of mobilization and ideologization. Countering the countless stories of “courage, terror and hope” this paper argues, requires the identification of the disparate, often subtle and ambivalent, grass-roots cultural and political practices and attitudes with which Guatemalans responded to experiences of subordination and conflict and coped, maneuvered and survived the pressures for mobilization the armed conflict exerted. This objective will be realized through a dual approach, drawing on, on the one hand, the methodological reflections of scholarship on everyday life in European dictatorships and, on the other hand, the theoretical insights of Subaltern Studies. This paper advances the theoretical hypothesis that Guatemalan subalterns acted as “migrating subjects” through the changing nature of their social pact vis-à-vis the army and the guerrilla. Within the taxonomy of divergent understandings and responses to the armed conflict, black and white victim-agent binaries will be exchanged for a recognition of overlapping identities.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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