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Materiality of the Political Violence in El Salvador and Guatemala: Rethinking Memory, Peace, and Justice in the post conflict era

Author Clara GUARDADO
Director of thesis Professor Dr. Liliana Gomez-Popescu
Co-director of thesis Professor Dr. Ellen Moddie
Summary of thesis

Based on anthropological and cultural studies approaches, I seek to explain through a comparative analysis of two communities (in El Salvador and Guatemala) the impact of the political violence during the civil war in the 70s and 80s on the populations still affected by it in their everyday life today. I want to discuss the way in which objects have shaped settings of pain and its aesthetics. My goal is to contribute to rethinking narratives of political violence, memory, and justice by exploring the role of objects (i.e. bones, pictures, archival material) and its various meanings for both the communities and families seeking justice and the state’s quest for reconciliation. Although the political culture seems to be very different in both countries at the level of state discourses, I want to explore the everyday aftermath of the violence experienced during the war which is remembered by the victims through the very materiality made up of bones, pictures and archives of the victims. I consider that studying the violence of the past might help to clarify why after signing the peace accords these two countries became one of the most violent regions around the world. Through an ethnographic study I wish to argue that the practices in post-conflict Central America are not that different in the micro discourses, as victims and perpetrators did not undertake a process of deep reconciliation and structural violence keeps affecting the ones who suffered under the civil war three decades ago.

Administrative delay for the defence