In brief: Securing the City

Securing the City: Neoliberalism, Space, and Insecurity in Postwar Guatemala
Edited by Kevin Lewis O’Neill and Kedron Thomas
2011, Duke University Press
220 pages

THE PRIVATISATION of insecurity has left Guatemala in the worst of possible worlds. Unable to rebuild public order and a sense of well-being in the aftermath of its devastating civil war, it has all the while had to shoulder the burden of a neoliberal experiment that has created a society in which endemic violence is the norm yet the state is neither able nor willing to act. As the contributors to this book demonstrate, we may recoil in horror at the sheer absence of security in this small, unhappy country but we struggle to understand how the powerful global forces shaping social relations are responsible. The contributors make a strenuous effort to show, among other things, how postwar violence and the responses to it are merely exacerbating the deep-rooted inequality and ethnic discrimination that lie at the heart of Guatemala’s many problems. – EC