Murder and Violence in Modern Latin America

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-12-16
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Written by leading scholars from the Americas and Europe, this is a thorough assessment of state-supported murder and violence in Latin America.

  • Examines the trajectory of murder and violence in the region over the past two centuries and elucidates theories and trends regarding violence since the end of colonial rule 
  • Covers topics such as “the disappeared,” the rise of drug cartels and narco-violence, physical violence against wives, the judging and sentencing of violent crimes, genocide, and state terrorism 
  • Explains and applies macro-level theories regarding the rise of civilization, state building, and violence to contemporary Latin America 
  • Demonstrates the complexity of an issue at the forefront of life and politics in the region today

Author Biography

Eric A. Johnson is Professor of Modern History at Central Michigan University and has previously held professorships at the University of Cologne and the University of Strathclyde. His research concentrates on violence in modern history, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, the Fulbright and Alexander von Humboldt Foundations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. He is the author of Urbanization and Crime (1995), the co-author of What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany (2005) and author of Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans (2000).

Ricardo D. Salvatore is Professor of Modern History at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His most recent books are Subalternos, Derechos y Justicia Penal: Ensayos de historia social y cultural argentina 1829-1940 (2010) and Wandering Paysanos: State Order and Subaltern Experience in Buenos Aires during the Rosas Era (2003). He is co-editor of Crime and Punishment in Latin America: Law and Society since Late Colonial Times (2001).

Pieter Spierenburg is Professor of Historical Criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. His research focuses on crime, law, and violence in early modern history, and he has published, among other books, A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present (Polity, 2008), Written in Blood: Fatal Attraction in Enlightenment Amsterdam (2004) and, most recently, Violence and Punishment: Civilizing the Body through Time (Polity, 2013).

Table of Contents


Introduction: Murder and Violence in Modern Latin America (Eric A. Johnson, Ricardo D. Salvatore and Pieter Spierenburg)
1. War, Violence and Homicide in Modern Mexico (Alan Knight)

2. Physical Violence against Wives and the Law in the Spanish American World, 1820s - 2000s (Victor M. Uribe-Urán)

3. Judging Violent Crimes: Patterns of Sentencing in Modern Argentina, 1878-1948 (Ricardo D. Salvatore)

4. Homicide as Politics in Modern Mexico (Pablo A. Piccato)

5. La Violencia in Colombia, Through Stories of the Body (Cristina Rojas and Daniel Tubb)

6. Genocide and State Terrorism in Guatemala, 1954-1996: An Interpretation (Carlos Figueroa Ibarra)

7. The Narrative of the Disappearances in Argentina: The Nunca Más Report (Emilio Crenzel)

8. Punishment and Extermination: The Massacre of Political Prisoners in Lima, Peru, June 1986 (Carlos Aguirre)

9. Gang Violence and Insecurity in Contemporary Central America (Orlando J. Pérez)

Conclusion: Violence and ‘the Civilising Process’ in Modern Latin America (Ricardo D. Salvatore)




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