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Paradoxes of peace: violences against women in postwar Guatemala’s Northern Transversal Strip

Hartviksen, Julia Irene (2018) Paradoxes of peace: violences against women in postwar Guatemala’s Northern Transversal Strip. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis explores the relationships between socio-economic change and violences against women (VsAW) in postwar rural Guatemala, and how this violence is understood, experienced and resisted by women living in the Northern Transversal Strip (FTN) region. Research was conducted utilizing a feminist qualitative methodological approach, drawing on ten months of fieldwork, including semistructured interviews with predominantly indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ women community leaders and social and legal service providers, as well as participant observation in community development and women’s forums. Empirically, the project highlights aspects of continuity and change in a post-conflict context, linking VsAW not only to the historical and social context in which it occurs, but also to rural life and postwar development. In the context of postwar economic transformation, violent crime remains problematic. Research has drawn attention to high reports of VsAW, yet tends to concentrate on urban spaces; little attention afforded to how such violence manifests in rural communities, where many of the shocks of the postwar development model are most acutely felt. In aiming to address this empirical lacuna, this study asks, how can we understand VsAW in rural Guatemala in contemporary times? To what extent are VsAW a legacy of the past, and to what extent are they linked to contemporary political economic change? How does this shape resistance? The research, informed by feminist historical materialist, decolonial and feminist geographical literature, found that VsAW was framed in relation to the political economic, social and environmental impacts of development in rural communities and coloniality, particularly in relation to the palm-oil sector. Theoretically, the project illustrates how shifting from a “continuum of violence” to a matrix approach can illustrate the interrelated social, political and economic dynamics that shape not only the ways in which VAWF occurs, but also how it is resisted by women community leaders.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Julia Irene Hartviksen
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute
Supervisor: Perrons, Diane

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