Can we understand violence not as evidence of cultural rupture but as a form of cultural expression itself? Ten prominent scholars engage this question across geographies as diverse at their theoretical positions, in cases drawn from fieldwork in Indonesia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South America, Sri Lanka, Spain, and the United States. This research makes clear that within specific cultures, violent acts are expressions of cultural codes imbued with great meaning for both perpetrator and victim. "Unless the perpetrator's view is part of our own understanding," editor Neil L. Whitehead observes, "how to address the sources of violence will escape us." Covering wide-ranging regimes of violence, these essays examine various aspects of state violence, legitimate and illegitimate forms of violence, the impact of anticipatory violence on daily life, and its effects long after the events themselves have passed. In the marginal spaces of global ethnoscapes, violence becomes a form of cultural affirmation and expression in the face of a loss of "tradition" and dislocations of ethnic communities.
This book is dedicated to the memory of Begoña Aretxaga.