The Sounds of Silence

Cathy Blacklock and Alison Crosby

in Sites of Violence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520230729
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937055 | DOI:
The Sounds of Silence

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This chapter discusses the thirty-six-year civil war in Guatemala. It describes the challenges of participant observation research with popular women's organizations in the context of democratization, a period during which a process of political liberalization occurred in an environment of continuing state repression. It then explores the challenges of undertaking feminist action research with organized groups within civil society in postwar Guatemala. The practical goals of the women's organizations have been to build women's self-esteem and sense of entitlement and to educate women politically. It reveals the changes, albeit slow, messy, and uneven, that were happening as the Guatemalan social system underwent a transition from militarized democratization to post-peace accord neoliberalism. The structures of inequality are utilized to neoliberalize the Guatemalan economy, while the elite exploit the political opportunities of a more distant relationship to the repressive apparatus allowed by the logic of the neoliberal market.

Keywords: Guatemala; civil war; political liberalization; feminist action; women's organizations; neoliberalism; democratization

Chapter.  12293 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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