Dwellers of Memory: Youth and Violence in Medellín, Colombia

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Transaction Publishers, 2006 - Social Science - 220 pages

Dwellers of Memory is an ethnographic study of how urban youth in Colombia came to be at the intersection of multiple forms of political, drug-related, and territorial violence in a country undergoing forty years of internal armed conflict. It examines the ways in which youth in the city of Medelln reconfigure their lives and cultural worlds in the face of widespread violence. This violence has transgressed familiar boundaries and destroyed basic social supports and networks of trust. This volume attempts to map and understand its patterns and flows. The author explores how Medelln's youth locate themselves and make sense of violence through contradictory and shifting memory practices. The violence has not completely taken over their cultural worlds or their subjectivities. Practices of remembering and forgetting are key methods by which these youth rework their identities and make sense of the impact of violence on their lives. While the experience of violence is rooted in urban space and urban youth, the memory dwellers use a sense of place, oral histories of death, and narratives of fear as survival strategies for inhabiting violent neighborhoods. The book also examines fissures in memory, the contradictory constructions of young people's subjective selves, and practices of gendered violence and terror. All have and continue to pose risks to the historical memory and cultural survival of the residents of Medelln. Dwellers of Memory offers an alternative ethnographic approach to the study of memory and violence, one that calls into question whether the role of the ethnographer of violence is to be a mere witness of terror, or to oppose it by writing against it. It will be of interest to sociologists, anthropologists, and students of ethnography. Pilar Riao-Alcal is assistant professor, School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada.

 

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Contents

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Page xxxii - Ontario, the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) at York University...
Page xxxii - Professor in the School of Social Work and Family Studies at the University of British Columbia and is known internationally for his previous book, Dynamics of Family Development.
Page 24 - I use the term to mean the dialectical tension, the interactive, reciprocal shaping of theory and practice which I see at the center of an emancipatory social science.
Page 24 - Habit is a knowledge and a remembering in the hands and in the body; and in the cultivation of habit it is our body which 'understands'" (Connerton 1984, 95; cited in Halpin 1995, 2).

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About the author (2006)

Pilar Riano-Alcala is assistant professor, School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada.

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