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Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti (California Series in Public Anthropology)

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Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti (California Series in Public Anthropology) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

and#147;Haitiand#8217;s catastrophic earthquake follows a decade of crisis in governance and in everyday social life. Erica Jamesand#8217;s powerful ethnographic study shows how insecurity has been created, victimhood shaped, and trauma mediated under long-term conditions of grinding poverty punctuated by periodic disaster and interventions both external and domestic. The international and unintended consequences have commodified suffering, institutionalized insecurity, and fashioned a troubling and troubled and#145;democracy.and#8217; This book is a major achievement!and#8221;and#151;Arthur Kleinman, author of What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life amidst Uncertainty and Danger

"This is a remarkable piece of scholarship. Erica James has raised the bar as far as solid ethnographic inquiry in Haiti goes and draws on a diverse set of theoretical traditions in anthropology and in social theory. Her research will, I predict, open new doors."and#151;Paul Farmer, Harvard University, founding director of Partners in Health

"Erica James' book is a vivid descent into the ordinary of violence and insecurity, of suffering and trauma, in a country that seems to have never completely recovered from past French exploitation and American imperialism. Based on an ethnography of neighborhoods as well as of aid agencies, the inquiry courageously questions our categories of thought and models of action to confront Haitian endless tragedies, from victimization to humanitarianism, bringing together, in an unprecedented analysis, what she calls the economies of terror and the economies of compassion."and#151;Didier Fassin, author of When Bodies Remember

"Democratic Insecurities is a work of extraordinary depth that sets new standards on the themes of violence and social suffering. The power of the book lies in the great attention to historical and ethnographic detail of Haitian society and politics through which the doing and undoing of violence is rendered knowable as well as its command over social theory."and#151;Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University

"James draws us in via an astonishingly vivid and unsettling account of her first weeks in Haiti. This book is a highly sophisticated, compelling, and instructive read and an outstanding example of ethnography by one of the leading anthropologists in the field of trauma."and#151;Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, Harvard University

Synopsis:

Democratic Insecurities focuses on the ethics of military and humanitarian intervention in Haiti during and after Haiti's 1991 coup. In this remarkable ethnography of violence, Erica Caple James explores the traumas of Haitian victims whose experiences were denied by U.S. officials and recognized only selectively by other humanitarian providers. Using vivid first-person accounts from women survivors, James raises important new questions about humanitarian aid, structural violence, and political insecurity. She discusses the politics of postconflict assistance to Haiti and the challenges of promoting democracy, human rights, and justice in societies that experience chronic insecurity. Similarly, she finds that efforts to promote political development and psychosocial rehabilitation may fail because of competition, strife, and corruption among the individuals and institutions that implement such initiatives.

About the Author

Erica Caple James is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Abbreviations

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Democracy, Insecurity, and the Commodification of Suffering

1. The Terror Apparatus

2. The Aid Apparatus and the Politics of Victimization

3. Routines of Rupture and Spaces of (In)Security

4. Double Binds in Audit Cultures

5. Bureaucraft, Accusations, and the Social Life of Aid

6. Sovereign Rule, Ensekirite, and Death

7. The Tyranny of the Gift

Notes

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520260542
Author:
James, Erica Caple
Publisher:
University of California Press
Author:
James, Erica
Subject:
Intervention (International law)
Subject:
Haiti Politics and government 1986-
Subject:
Political Process - General
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - General
Subject:
Ethnic Studies
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Violence in Society
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - International Secur
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series:
California Series in Public Anthropology
Series Volume:
22
Publication Date:
20100531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 b/w photographs
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » Sociology » Violence in Society
History and Social Science » World History » General

Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti (California Series in Public Anthropology) New Trade Paper
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Product details 384 pages University of California Press - English 9780520260542 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Democratic Insecurities focuses on the ethics of military and humanitarian intervention in Haiti during and after Haiti's 1991 coup. In this remarkable ethnography of violence, Erica Caple James explores the traumas of Haitian victims whose experiences were denied by U.S. officials and recognized only selectively by other humanitarian providers. Using vivid first-person accounts from women survivors, James raises important new questions about humanitarian aid, structural violence, and political insecurity. She discusses the politics of postconflict assistance to Haiti and the challenges of promoting democracy, human rights, and justice in societies that experience chronic insecurity. Similarly, she finds that efforts to promote political development and psychosocial rehabilitation may fail because of competition, strife, and corruption among the individuals and institutions that implement such initiatives.
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