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Review

Author(s): Les W. Field


Review by: Les W. Field
Source: Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 214-216
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4491804
Accessed: 27-02-2015 15:37 UTC

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214

Reviews

is counterposed
thebeginning
the'memoryas salvation'of theregime'spartisans
as
to 'memory
as an unresolved
and
andawakening'
rupture' 'memory persecution
or resistedit,at thesametimeforging
a memoryof their
of thosewho suffered
fordemocracy.
Somewhat
laterarisesa 'memory
as a closedbox', formed
struggles
of
efforts
of
the
itself
andof 'realists'among
the
by convergent
negationists
regime
that
are
fearful
of
a
Pandora's
Box.
thedemocratic
opposition
opening
to theseemblematic
in
memories
Sternsucceedsingivinga convincing
historicity
theirconflict,
interaction
and metamorphosis,
buthis first
book of thetrilogy
also
intoa rangeof aspectsofrecentChileanhistorical
providesfreshandacuteinsights
an original
histext,following
He achievesthisthrough
wayoforganising
experience.
withan 'afterword'
eachchapterofresearch
andreflection
thatbothcomplements
extensive
notesfull
andraisesquestionsaboutwhathascomebefore.He also offers
of suggestive
and endsthevolumewithan essayon his sourcesforthe
reflections
fulltrilogy.
estimateof the vast scale of repression
Sternmakesa quantitative
underthe
Pinochetregime:between3,500and 4,500deadand disappeared;
between 50o,ooo
forpolitical
to
and 200,000arrested
reasons,ofwhichsome ioo,ooo weretortured;
of o0million
whichare added between200,000and 400,000exiles,in a country
in 1973.
inhabitants
realmhe suggests
In theconceptual
theChilean
'policide'as a waytocharacterise
to
of
an
entire
case,definedas 'a systematic
project destroy
way doingand understanding
killingof specifictarpoliticsand governance'that'includessystematic
withotheractions'designedto generalizetheterror'and
getedgroups',together
build'a cultureof fearand fragmentation'
(p. I8o). Throughsuch a 'regimeof
violence
the
old
and
fear
[democratic]
ways[...] couldbe annihilated
systematic
[...]
andreplacedbytechnocratic
andauthoritarian
governance'(p. 3i).
itis worthemphasising
in Chileas a national
Stern'svisionof stateterror
Finally,
issue
of
case ofwhathe calls'a central
worldhistory'
disturbing
twentieth-century
or
of
a
'Latin
America's
the
"German
xx)
example
(p.
problem"'(p. xxv): the
intomassive,ordescentof a country
admiredforits cultureand enlightenment
'so extremethattheydefythe normalrealmof the
ganisedacts of barbarism
and forgivable'
(p. 178). In thiswaySternlinkshiscarefulexamination
punishable
ofglobalscope.
of theChileanexperience
witha historical
andethicalreflection
deHistoria
A1FIRFIDi)()
Instituto
RIQ U) F'LNII,
deChile
Universidad
Pontificia
Catolica

/.Lat.rAmer.
Stid.39 (2007).

doi:io.io17/Soo02zz26Xo645342

A Study
Indians:
inEl Salvador
Q. Tilley,Seeing
Virginia
ofRace,NationandPower
NM: University
of New MexicoPress,2005oo),pp. xviii+ 297,
(Albuquerque,
$22.95, pb.
newshumanrightsactivists,
would-beexplorers,
Amongcertainsocialscientists,
thereis a
and a broadsectionof thepublicin manycountries,
paperpublishers
certainfascination
withpeoplesthathave been labeled- by otherscholars,ex- 'extinct'.For thosewho perpetrate
mediaand governments
and those
plorers,
who consumeit,this'lastof his/her
kind'tropehas providedan irresistible
narrativeas appliedto colonisedindigenous
peoples.But thereare also scholarsand

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Reviews 2z5
narration
ofcolonialism
sentence'anditsparticular
othersforwhomthe'extinction
to disprovethesentenceofextinction.
an invitation
andindigeneity
insteaddelivers
intraumaa particular
Such scholarsattemptto show thatwhateverhistorical
digenousor aboriginal
peoplemayhave endured,someone- actuallya groupof
intothepresent
andcarriedthatpeople'sidentity
someones- survived,
reproduced
of
extinction.
andoutof theterminal
category
to the'fileof extinct
The indigenous
peoplesof El Salvadorhavebeenrelegated
at leastaccordingto bothsuccessive
century,
peoples' formostof thetwentieth
workwritten
and the vast majorityof the scholarly
Salvadoreangovernments
about thatcountryboth by CentralAmericanand NorthAmericanscholars.
manandwomanin thestreetseemto agree
scholarsandthesalvadoredo
Bureaucrats,
in thewakeof the1932massacre
thatEl Salvador'sindigenous
peoplesdisappeared
in thewakeof
occurred
knownas La Matanza.Thisviciousperiodof bloodletting
in thewestern
thatwas led bycommunist
an uprising
political
partof thecountry
and did indeedinvolvesignificant
and unionorganisers
by native
participation
But even thougheliteand non-elitesalvadoredos
communities.
professthatafter
ceased
to
there
is
the
exist,
paradoxicaland simul1932
indigenouspopulation
thatindigenous
communities
taneousagreement
persisteven now in the certain
zoneofthecountry
wheretheMatanzatookplace.This
thewestern
areas,including
Nicaragua,which
peculiartwistresonateswitha similarparadoxin neighbouring
called
'the
of
historian
Gould
has
myth Nicaraguamestiza,'and which
Jeffrey
in the provincesof Masayaand Carazo in that
I ethnographically
documented
country.
in El Salvador,VirginiaQ. Tilley,a political
Faced withthissameincongruity
a lucidexegesis.One
at Hobartand WilliamSmithColleges,has written
scientist
is to takethe anti-extinction
optiona scholarmighttakein thesecircumstances
sentence.Such an
rejectstheextinction
positionoutlinedabove,whichexplicitly
in
El
to
that
do
still
exist
andto
would
need
show
Indians
Salvador,
really
argument
thisclaim.Buttheonlywayto makesuchan argument
marshal
datathatsubstantiate
ofwhoandwhatan 'Indian'is - in otherwords,
definition
is to relyon a particular
or traits,
characteristics
one needsa check-list,
so to speak,of indigenous
against
whichto checkthedata aboutthegroupwhomone wantsto proveare stillinescourse,avoidingthenecessarily
digenous.Wisely,Tilleyhas takena different
traits
thathavecomeunderfirefrommany
sentialist
claimsaboutbloodandcultural
and indifferent
anthropologists
includingboth social constructionist
quarters,
to
'Indianness'.
outsiders'
efforts
define
leaders
who
disavow
Instead,
digenous
treatstheissuemeta-discursively:
awayfromfruitless
'shift[ing]
Tilley'sargument
efforts
to establishobjectivecriteriaforwho is an Indian... [i]nsteadwe can
setsof criteria
examinehow,and underwhatpoliticalconditions,
[for
competing
of
took
The
main
focus
Indianness]
Tilley'sbook thus
defining
shape.' (p. 17).
ledSalvadoran
becomesthe'domesticandinternational
nationalists,
[that]
pressures
in theearlytwentieth
to orchestrate
theIndians'official
erasure'(p. 24),a
century,
community.
acceptedbythescholarly
positionheretofore
focusesmuchof herattention
Giventhisapproach,Tilleynecessarily
upon the
in western
El Salvadorand
eventsleadingup to,duringandafterthe1932 uprising
thebestknown
In so doingshe constructively
theMatanzathatfollowed.
critiques
aboutSalvadorean
andcommonly
history.
Tilley
quotedscholarswhohavewritten
in a
antecedents
and precedenceforthe 1932uprising
demonstrates
thehistorical
farmoreeffective
waythanpreviousscholarsin myopinion.Her tracingof the

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216 Reviews
mannerin whichthe post-1932Salvadoreanstatestatistically
'disappeared'its
in
official
documents
and
discourse
is
indigenous
population
superb.In addition,
shecontextualises
thecontemporary
meta-discourse
aboutindigenous
Salvadoreans
in threelinkedways.
of thecurrent
stateof thosecomFirst,she providesethnographic
descriptions
in thewesternregionwhichotherSalvadoreans
munities
admitretainindigenous
Even thoughTilleyfindsindigenous
dressandlanguageremainmore
populations.
in thesecommunities
thanis acknowledged
prevalent
byeitherotherSalvadoreans
or non-Salvadorean
she
shows
to reviveindigenous
scholars,
whyprogrammes
dressand languageare likelyto farepoorlyamongthosepopulationsin coming
successful
years.Second,she showshow theextremely
Mayansocialand cultural
in neighbouring
movement
Guatemalahas set thestandardforwhatconstitutes
in CentralAmerica.Thatstandard,
she argues,has consistently
indigenous
identity
and inevitably
madeit moredifficult
forSalvadoreanindigenous
communities
to
situorganisesucha movement,
giventhelatter'sown peculiarand verydifferent
ation.Finally,Tilleyunderscores
how the difficulties
faced by these
currently
Salvadorean
communities
aremadeevenmoreconstricting
efforts
madebyboth
by
the pan-hemispheric
humanright
indigenousmovementand the international
movements
to help them.On thisglobalstage,the SalvadoreanIndianscannot
Indianness'to thesatisfaction
ofinterested
bepossibly'perform
parties,
precisely
causeof thehistorical
circumstances
thatshapedtheirsurvival
intothetwenty-first
century.
My quibblewithTilley'sbook is a desireforthicker
ethnographic
description
notonlyamongtheNahua-Pipil
communities,
amongthecontemporary
indigenous
communities
of thewestern
butamongthemuchlesswellknown(former)
region,
oftheCacaoperaregionineasternEl Salvadoras well.ButTilleyis a
Ulua-speakers
notan anthropologist.
The factthatshewrotethisbook underpoliticalscientist,
scoresbothhow muchquestionsof indigenous
and survival
areof broad
identity
interest
these
and
that
different
can
of
contribute
a variety
scholarly
days
disciplines
to theseissues.
approaches
ofNewMexico
University

IFIS W. FIE LD

39 (2007). doi:io.IoI7/Soozzzi6Xo6462349
J.Lat. Amer.
Stiud.

Leslie E. Andersonand LawrenceC. Dodd, Learning


Democra"y:
Citizen
and ElectoralChoicein Nicaragua,
Engagement
I99o-2ooi(Chicago,IL: The
of
xvi
+
370,$24.00,pb.
University ChicagoPress,2005), pp.
their
examination
of
the
case
of
Andersonand Dodd
Through
singular
Nicaragua,
aimto contribute
to theoretical
debatesaboutdemocratisation,
new(and
presenting
thatcontradict
someofthecommonplaces
thattransitologia
provocative)
hypotheses
has turned
intounquestioned
certainties.
Forthistheydevelopa highly
heterodox
basedon thecombination
of,on
strategy
theonehand,a rigorous
ofelectoral
data(especially
ofthe'critical'elections
analysis
of I990) and,on theother,therescueof historicist
of politicaldeinterpretations
thatinvoketheprofound
transformations
whichrevolutionary
velopment
processes
entail.The authorshavebasedtheirelectoralanalysison sophisticated
theoriesof
voterchoice(applying
theories
of 'retrospection'
and 'prospection'),
withtheaim
ofexplaining
howandwhyNicaraguan
votersmadetheelectoral
decisionswe have

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions