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Secrecy and Insurgency, Secrecy and Insurgency, 0817313591, 0-8173-1359-1, 978-0-8173-1359-3, 9780817313593, , , Secrecy and Insurgency, 081738698X, 0-8173-8698-X, 978-0-8173-8698-6, 9780817386986,

Secrecy and Insurgency
Socialities and Knowledge Practices in Guatemala

Trade Cloth
2014. 272 pp.
11 illustrations
Price:  $49.95 s
E Book
2013. 272 pp.
11 illustrations
Price:  $49.95 d

Secrecy and Insurgency deals with the experiences of guerrilla combatants of the Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (Rebel Armed Forces) in the aftermath of the peace accords signed in December 1996 between the Guatemalan government and guerrilla insurgents.

Drawing on a broad field of contemporary theory, Silvia Posocco’s Secrecy and Insurgency presents a vivid ethnographic account of secrecy as both sociality and a set of knowledge practices. Informed by multi-sited anthropological fieldwork among displaced communities with experiences of militancy in the guerrilla organization Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes, the book traces the contours of dispersed and intermittent guerrilla social relations, unraveling the gendered dimensions of guerrilla socialities and subjectivities in a local context marked by violence and rapid social change.

The chapters chart shifting regimes of governance in the northern departamento of Petén; the inception of violence and insurgency; guerrilla practices of naming and secret relations; moral orders based on sameness and sharing; and forms of relatedness, embodiment, and subjectivity among the combatants. The volume develops new critical idioms for grappling with partiality, perspective, and incompleteness in ethnography and contributes to new thinking on the anthropology of Guatemala.

Secrecy and Insurgency will be of interest to social and cultural anthropologists, human geographers, and scholars in Latin American studies, human rights, women’s studies, and gender studies.

Silvia Posocco is a lecturer in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London.

"...while Secrecy and Insurgency will be of particular interest to those who wish to better understand the civil war in Guatemala, it will also be of great use to others. Anyone searching for new theoretical and methodological tools for understanding cultures of armed resistance to state repression will find this text highly rewarding. This book also has much to offer to scholars and students who want to understand how practices of secrecy inform and constitute state projects and tactics of repression, e.g. the war on drugs and enforced disappearance." —Antipode

“[Posocco] examines the consequences and responses to a violent internal war dating back to the 1960s. . . . Her approach stresses complexity and what she terms ‘plurality in context,’ and she emphasizes multiple rather than singular trajectories of social change and the role of communication and secrecy in a postwar environment. Fear and secrecy remain in place. Recommended.”

"Secrecy and Insurgency offers a deep engagement with our disciplinary constraints whilst also providing a unique perspective into Guatemala’s current social rebuilding." —Anthropology News


“I am convinced that this book will add greatly to our understanding of guerrilla identities during and after the Guatemalan conflict and to the contemporary history of the Petén (often overlooked by scholars), as well as provide a strong theoretical addition to our understanding of partiality, subjectivity, and the necessary incompleteness of ethnography.” —Timothy J. Smith, coeditor of After the Coup: An Ethnographic Reframing of Guatemala, 1954

“An uncanny voyage into the covert heart of Guatemalan darkness. Silvia Posocco’s Secrecy and Insurgency offers a sympathetic and analytically astute account of everyday Guatemalans living in extraordinary circumstances, doing their best to survive in a country governed by a permanent counterinsurgency.”
—Greg Grandin, author of The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

“Theoretically informed as it is theoretically innovative, Secrecy and Insurgency is a compelling account of secrecy and memories of violence in post-war Guatemala. The detailed experiences of dozens of ex-combatants, women and men, are given voice in this work which draws on Marilyn Strathern’s model of merographic connection to explore the multiple ways subjects—partial and unstable—hold identities and positions which are reflected and reconfigured in the ‘others’ against which they are sometimes violently opposed. This is more than simply a multi-sited ethnography of the memory of war in Guatemala. Written with theoretical sophistication as well as an ear to veterans’ voices, it is cutting-edge twenty-first-century ethnography.”
—Andrew Canessa, author of Natives Making Nation: Gender, Indigeneity and the State in the Andes

“This book examines relations between a history of violence and the culture of secrecy that arose as a result. It explores how human beings might operate simultaneously and intermittently in different moral regimes and different modes of relatedness, and in so doing not only multiply their social identities but also extend their capacities for action. Besides its committed and compelling ethnography, the innovativeness—and the importance—of the book lies in its attempt to draw analogies or ‘annunciations’ between local conceptual practices and analytical, anthropological ones. Silvia Posocco asks how issues of secrecy and disclosure in Peten, of the partiality and situatedness of identity, of displacement in the face of violence, might lead to an anthropological account based on a new, ‘weak’ metaphysics and aesthetics of provisionalism, ambiguity, fragmentariness, and inessentialism. Category-thinking (even of ‘soldier’ as contrasting with ‘guerrilla’) is inauthentic. . . . Posocco's text amply repays a close reading.”
—Nigel Rapport, co-author of Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts

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