Political Violence, Impunity, and Emotional Climate in Maya Communities


Lykes, M. Brinton, Carlos Martín Beristain, and Maria Luisa Cabrera Pérez-Armiñan. 2007. “Political Violence, Impunity, and Emotional Climate in Maya Communities.” Journal of Social Issues 63 (2): 369–85.

Authors: M. Brinton Lykes, Carlos Martín Beristain, Maria Luisa Cabrera Pérez-Armiñan


This article explores the effects of political violence and impunity on the emotional climate of Guatemalan Maya communities and the processes that may be drawn upon to improve such climates as revealed by three studies conducted in the 1990s. The first investigated Guatemalan peasants’ emotional responses to political and military repression during an ongoing conflict; the second, the effects of partic- ipation in judicial processes among a Guatemalan community recovering from a massacre as peace was being negotiated; and the third, the emotional impact of responding to extreme human rights violations among rural Maya women who also critically examined their gendered location in war and peacemaking. Taken collectively, the findings of these studies suggest several resources that have been deployed by survivors of human rights violations in Guatemala as tools for im- proving emotional climate and for moving forward in ongoing struggles for truth and justice, even in contexts of persistent violence and impunity.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Justice, Impunity, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2007

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