The origins and dynamics of genocide: political violence in Guatemala

Roddy Brett

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book explores the changing nature of political violence and how and under which conditions political violence ultimately culminates in genocide. The book narrates the evolution and impact of political violence upon indigenous and peasant victims and the strategies that they elaborated in the face of such horrific violence during Guatemala's internal armed conflict (1960-1996). The book analyses the experiences of political violence principally from the perspective of its survivors, perspectives that are complemented by a broad range of interviews with other relevant actors. The principal questions that shape the research pertain to these issues. Why did the political violence occur and what were its characteristics? What factors account for the decision taken by the Guatemalan military to perpetrate genocide? What strategies did non-combatants assume in the context of armed conflict and genocide?

The book is concerned with the evolution of the dynamics of political violence and its impact upon the civilian population during a short period of time, principally between 1975 and 1983. The research plots patterns and processes at the national level and then focuses upon the department of El Quiché, where empirical research details two specific case study regions, the Ixcán and the Ixil.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9781137397676
ISBN (Print)9781137397669
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Publication series

NameRethinking political violence


  • Genocide
  • Counterinsurgency
  • Political violence
  • Latin America
  • International relations
  • Security studies


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