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GEO 3050 Week 7 Rodgers.docx
GEO 3050 Week 7 Rodgers.docx

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University of Guelph
GEOG 3050
Kate Parizeau

Week 7 Rodgers Dennis Rodgers -Living In the Shadow of Death: Gangs, Violence and Social Order in Nicaragua 1996-2002  Could Argue shift in political economy of violence in LA post cold war o No longer stemming from ideological conflicts over nature of pols but more ‘prosaic forms’ such as crime o Crime isn't new, political violence not extinct -->violence in LA has become democratized, not only resource of traditionally powerful  New dynamics seen to be linked to regional crisis of governance -->liberalization, weak democratization and intensifying globalization undermined states and their ability to command monopoly over use of violence  Epitomizes declining political authority and signals rising social chaos  This article disagrees: far from embodying incipient anarchy, certain manifestations of this violence can be conceived as modes of social structuration in the face of wider processes of social and state breakdown o in relation to most emblematic form of brutality in LA -youth gangs  Case study of urban youth gang in Nicaragua or pandilla in capital, Managua  Account of barrio Luis Fanor Hernandez pandilla Crime in Contemporary Nicaragua  Longest running dictatorship in LA, Somoza dynasty  Streets peaceful during years of conflict, since peace streets have become scenes of war  Crime levels risen in past 15 years with crimes against persons between 1990 and 2003 rising by over 460 percent o Official statistic (460%) must be treated with caution -->are underestimations o 1 in 4 inhabitants of Managua victims of crime in previous four months  Sense of insecurity, manifest fear of leaving perceived safety of home, people restricting themselves to a few fixed routes and destinations o Effect on local social organizations o Traditional institutions of social solidarity such as extended family have shattered (no body takes care of anybody else anymore, lack of trust)  Gangs most likely perpetrators of crime by over 50 percent, and over half of those arrested in 97 were young males (corresponds to typical pandillero age, obvs not all gang members though)  Word pandilla denotes definite social institution, consisting of variably sized group of male youths ranging in age from 7-23 who engage in illicit and violent behaviour and who have a particular territorial dynamic o Associated with a specific urban neighborhood, larger ones may have more than one and not all have one. Tend not to dev in richer neighborhoods o Socio-econ opportunities available to youth also affect gang formation  Pandillas can be traced back to 1940s, were small scare and innocuous youth aggregations until early 90s when numbers increased and became significantly violent  Police insist pandillas in decline, public opinion and media and specific informants for case study suggest have increased (total number of youth may be declining but although less pandilleros more pandillas) The Barrio Luis Fanor Hernandez pandilla 1996-97  100 youths, all male between 7 and 22. From rich and poor HH, no stereotype deterinants o Only element that affected membership was religious, no evangelical protestants (contradictory to tentants of that religion and church provides complete organizational framework for members, alternative to gangs)  Neighbourhood gang subdivided into distinct age and geographical subgroups of equal size f o Operated seperately except in gang warfare and qualified themselves as members of same gang and never fought each other  Not all behaviour involved violence, some of this behaviour shared by those not in gangs  Two forms of gang violence: delinquency and warfare o Different age groups involved in different delinquent activities (didnt prey on locals, protect them from outsiders)  Dynamic of delinquency was social rather than economic and pandilleros never contributed illicit income to family econ, but spent it quickly with group (sense of identity based on common emotions and shared pleasures) o Warfare seemed chaotic, regular patterns though almost rituals  Conflicts revolved around attacking or portecting a neighborhood with fighting focused on harming or limiting damage and killing symbollically important gang members  Each new battle involves escalation of weaponry  Living in the shadow of death -->displaying specific behaviour patterns in battle, ie flying in the face of danger to taunt the enemey, taking risks whatever the odds  seen as primary constitutive practive for members, fundamental role in construction of identity Wars contributed to group identity -->us vs them Form of social construction -->fighting for your neighbourhood Pandilla wars did have neg effects but always indirect, threat stemmed from other gangs  In wider context of chronic violence and insecurity,
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