Carolyn Nordstrom and Antonius C. G. M. Robben

in Fieldwork Under Fire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1996 | ISBN: 9780520089938
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520915718 | DOI:

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  • Theory and Practice of Anthropology


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Fear, anxiety, and intimidation may paralyze ethnographers. This chapter analyzes fear in a personal and political context. The culture of fear that has reigned in Guatemala since the 1960 has unraveled the social fabric by infusing distrust into friendships and family ties. Fear has entered the social memory and social practices. Silence and secrecy are the concomitants ethnographers face when they want to carry out fieldwork in a country that is still under authoritarian control, where counterinsurgency units have a free hand and death squads intimidate and assassinate citizens and foreigners alike. This chapter sketches the eerie calm yet visceral disquiet of everyday life under repression.

Keywords: intimidation; secrecy; fear; Guatemala; repression

Chapter.  10305 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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