VIOLENCE AND THE AMERICAS
15 – 16, 2005
by the Center for Latin American Studies, the Townsend
Center for the Humanities and the Colombian Working Group
with funds from the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly.
“Revolutionary and Intimate Violence Among Salvadoran Guerrilla
Fighters and Their Families”
Guerilla fighters for the Farabundo Martí National
Liberation Front (FMLN) and their families experienced
multiple forms of violence during wartime and the transition
Prof. Bourgois will discuss his 20-year study that follows
the shift from political violence to interpersonal and
criminal violence and highlights the need to examine the
relationships between intimate and structural violence.
As many former fighters and their families immigrate to the
United States, the patriarchal family arrangements central
to the processes of violence in both war and peace are
by new forms of U.S. criminal and gang violence.
Philippe Bourgois is Professor of Anthropology, History
and Social Medicine at UC San Francisco. He has published
in popular and academic venues on political violence, ethnic
conflict, immigration, labor conflicts and street children.
He is currently conducting fieldwork among homeless heroin
injectors and crack smokers in San Francisco.
“Hip-hop, Violence and Segregation in São Paulo”
to increasing urban violence and new forms of segregation
in São Paulo has been the development of new cultural
and artistic movements in the poor peripheries. Hip-hop
is the most visible and influential of these movements.
São Paulo’s rappers produce a powerful critique
of Brazilian society as they use music, dance and graffitti
to articulate what they call “attitude,” a
new code of behavior that might allow young black men to
survive in the midst of widespread violence.
Caldeira is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Irvine.
Her research interests include the interconnections between
urban violence, spatial segregation and democratization
and the re-creation of gender and generational roles among
São Paulo youth in the context of neoliberalism
Elida dos Santos
“The Difficult Reality of Organ Trafficking: Mozambique and Brazil”
Elida dos Santos’s long history of human rights work
includes protesting the 2003 execution of 14 street children
in Nampula, Mozambique, a crime linked to an alleged organs
trafficking mafia. She is now part of a parliamentary investigation
into organs trafficking in São Paulo and was awarded
the Franz de Castro Holwarth Award in Human Rights from
the Order of Brazilian Lawyers.
“Nonviolence in Colombia: More Solidarity Than Authority?”
past five years, Colombia has seen a decrease in urban
armed violence due to the dismantling of large drug trafficking
cartels, initiatives for peaceful coexistence and citizenship
education. Sustaining this reduction in violence depends
on the consolidation of a culture of nonviolence by giving
primacy to the peaceful instruments of dialogue, democracy,
solidarity and the promotion of cultural transformation.
Policies that focus on the “war on terrorism” do
not create a nonviolent society. Peace as the result of
war or the imposition of the law through fear is nothing
more than an armed truce.
González Posso is President of the Institute for
Peace and Development, ex-Minister of State and a promoter
of peace and nonviolence initiatives in Colombia. He has
participated in dialogues and peace negotiations since
1984 and was one of the coordinators of the Mandate for
Peace which received 10 million votes in 1997 and mobilized
millions of Colombians.
“Gang-Talk, Rights-Talk and Rule of Law: Using Democratic Citizenship
to Justify Criminal Violence in Brazil”
30 years have seen both increasing political democracy
and increasing violence in Brazil. The new democracy destabilizes
old formulas of established rule and social hierarchy and
in the process, erodes the patterns of domination and deference
that previously provided a sense of everyday order and
security. In a striking twist to the democratization process,
during this period of destabilization powerful criminal
groups from the poor urban peripheries have adopted a discourse
of democratic rights, citizenship and rule of law to represent
their organizations in their public pronouncements.
Holston is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC San
Diego and often teaches at the University of São
Paulo. His focus is on citizenship and democratic change
in the Americas, especially Brazil and the United States,
and related transformations in the social and spatial organization
of cities. His publications include The Modernist City:
An Anthropological Critique of Brasília and Cities
“Law Enforcement and Citizenship-Building”
as in other big cities, people pursue their objectives
using the best means to attain their goals. Nevertheless,
their options for action are usually framed by regulation
mechanisms that can be formal rules (legal norms) or informal
rules (moral and social norms). Those rules can be obeyed
for positive or negative reasons, such as fear of legal
sanctions, guilt or social rejection. The policy of citizenship
culture developed during my tenure as mayor of Bogotá,
was an approach to the enforcement of law that succeeded
in transforming the relationship between citizens, public
administrators and public space.
Mockus was mayor of the city of Bogotá, Colombia
from 1995–97 and 2001–03. He also served as
Rector of the National University of Colombia and is the
author of numerous books and articles on politics, culture
and education. Mr. Mockus has announced his candidacy for
the Colombian presidential elections in 2006.
“Construction and Contestation of Criminal Identities: The Case of the
Cocaleros in the Colombian Western Amazon”
the central government has perceived the Western Amazon
region of Colombia as a land without inhabitants, denying
the existence of the indigenous population and designating
it as a receptor for displaced people. Peasants who settled
in this region as a result of different waves of migration,
and who today grow coca, have been stigmatized as criminals
with no regional identity. The central state does not accord
them a place within the national society except as guerrilla
auxiliaries or drug traffickers and thus justifies the
use of violence against them.
Clemencia Ramírez is a Senior Researcher at the
Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia
and Professor of Anthropology at Universidad de los Andes
in Bogotá, Colombia. She is currently a visiting
scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American
Studies at Harvard University. Her work explores the intersections
of violence and identity in the Putumayo department of
and Trust in Colombia”
Members of “illegal” Colombian armed groups
have increasingly engaged in kidnapping to silently relocate
formal ideological politics towards transformations of social
identity. Boundaries become increasingly porous as kidnappers
flow in and out of walled neighborhoods in search of valuable
live bodies. New practices of sovereignty emerge from the
convergence of victim and torturer. Through mimesis with
the “Other,” the kidnapped body is reborn into
new imaginaries of sovereign law in a metamorphosis of categories
of collective identity.
Peter Rawitscher is a Ph.D. student in the Department of
Anthropology at UC Berkeley. His dissertation examines the
construction of nation and participation in neoliberal economies,
based on practices of resistance to violence in Colombia
amongst indigenous and urban groups. He received his B.A.
in Anthropology from the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia
where has conducted numerous research projects.
“Death Squads and Democratization in Northeast Brazil”
the 1990s, death squad attacks on street children, minority
youth and other “sub-citizens” caused democratic
Brazil to sustain youth mortality statistics in some urban
centers comparable to a nation at war. In Timbauba, Pernambuco
the state of political anarchy peaked in the late 1990s
when a local death squad took control. A small group of
local political activists joined forces with a newly appointed
judge and a tough-minded district attorney to wrest the
municipio from the vigilantes. Their success, in spite
of limited material support and a complicit police force,
is a tale worth telling.
Scheper-Hughes is Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.
Her lifework explores the violence of everyday life from
a radical existentialist and politically engaged perspective.
She is best known for her award winning books on madness
among bachelor farmers in County Kerry, Ireland and on
the madness of hunger, mother love and infant death in
“Violence, Law and Violent Law: Lynchings in Latin America”
Mob “justice” is
an increasingly common trend across Latin America. To date,
the scant scholarly analysis of the trend has supported
increased state control of lawless territories and populations.
In fact, I argue that these incidents are not knee-jerk
reactions to criminality but rather commentaries on deeply
unjust distributions of power in societies becoming ever
more unequal. By enacting these highly ritualized, public
displays of “justice,” marginalized communities
seek not only to punish criminal activity, but perhaps
more importantly, to reassert themselves as agents rather
Angelina Snodgrass Godoy is Assistant Professor of Law, Societies and Justice
and of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her
research interests include the spread of mano dura policies in post-authoritarian
Latin America, the use of vigilante “justice,” the growth of intellectual
property law and its impact on health and human rights in poor countries.
“Social Invisibility, Public Security Policies and Police Reform in Brazil:
The Trajectory of Sisyphus”
society faces a major drama: almost 50,000 people are killed
every year, most of them poor, black, young and male. Both
right and left — for opposed yet complementary reasons — have
shown less concern than the magnitude of the tragedy requires.
The police are mostly brutal and ineffective and are frequently
involved in corruption scandals. Prof. Soares will analyze
the logic behind the widespread lack of political will
and examine the most promising policies currently being
Luiz Eduardo Soares served as the Brazilian Secretary of Public Security in
2003 and was previously the Undersecretary of Security for the state of Rio
de Janeiro. He is Professor of Anthropology and Political Science at the State
University of Rio de Janeiro and was elected 1999 “Man of Ideas” by
the Jornal do Brasil for his innovative approaches to human rights and public
“State of Violence in the Brazilian Metropolis”
poverty and destitution, vertiginous inequality and the
routine malfunctioning of the police, courts and prisons
are three roots of violence in the Brazilian metropolis.
By failing to develop a formally bureaucratic apparatus,
institute the rule of law after the return to democracy
and stem the growth of the informal criminal sector, the
state is the primary source of escalating urban violence
which creates a climate of rampant fear and intolerance
in the city.
Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, Distinguished
University Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the
New School for Social Research and Researcher at the Centre
de Sociologie Européenne in Paris. His work deals
with comparative urban marginality, violence and the body,
the penal state and the politics of reason. He is a co-founder
and editor of the interdisciplinary journal Ethnography.