(Re)reading the boundaries and bodies of femicide : exploring articulations within the discursive economy of gendered violence in 'post war' Guatemala

Fuentes, Lorena (2016) (Re)reading the boundaries and bodies of femicide : exploring articulations within the discursive economy of gendered violence in 'post war' Guatemala. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.


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This thesis explores gendered violence in ‘post war’ Guatemala and critically examines the responses to this phenomenon. I argue that the discourses that respond to, and attempt to account for, the paradox of ‘peacetime’ violence, and, more specifically, for the bodies of that violence, represent key sites through which ideological struggles get articulated. One such expression of this ‘post war’ violence in Guatemala is femicide. Starting from the position that femicide is a discursivelyconstituted object, in the Foucauldian and Butlerian sense, this thesis approaches violence at the level of representation. The empirical chapters examine the political terrain of gendered violence during the Patriot Party administration (2012 – 2015). Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Guatemala, and which included interviews and analysis of speeches, policy documents, and visual and textual materials from mainstream media sources, I identify three frameworks; through an examination of the performative staging of femicide cases that emerge across a range of contextual (temporal, spatial, and subjectivity) ‘coordinates’, I consider how those frameworks help to regulate the terms of femicide’s contemporary visibility and recognition. The first framework pertains to the ostensibly ‘private’ forms of ‘domestic’ and ‘family violence’, while the second pertains to so-called new forms of ‘public insecurity’. Within these frameworks, femicide (and at times specific victims) mobilises political and societal responses, but these responses, I argue, constitute misrecognised and instrumentalised approaches to gendered violence. The final empirical chapter considers recent trials pertaining to state-sponsored genocide and sexual violence. Here, the significance of the framework that I identify lies in the practices of denial and occlusion that disarticulate historical gendered violence from the discursive economy of contemporary femicidal visibility and recognition. This thesis thus offers a ‘rereading’ of the discursive economy of gendered violence— highlighting the racialised, classed, and gendered boundaries that stratify life and death in ‘post war’ Guatemala.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Department of Geography
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 27 May 2016 09:43
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:47
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/187

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