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Reading: Beyond Counterinsurgency: Peasant Militias and Wartime Social Order in Peru’s Civil War

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Beyond Counterinsurgency: Peasant Militias and Wartime Social Order in Peru’s Civil War

Author:

Mario Antonio Fumerton

Utrecht University, NL
About Mario
Mario Antonio Fumerton <m.a.fumerton@uu.nl> is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Conflict Studies, Utrecht University, where he teaches various graduate and undergraduate courses.  His research interests include social movements, contentious politics, insurgency and counterinsurgency, militias, performance and performativity.  His publications include Kurdistan’s Political Armies: the Challenge of Unifying the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces. (Wladimir van Wilgenburg co-author; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 16 December 2015), and “Insurgency and Terrorism: Is there a Difference?” (Isabelle Duyvesteyn co-author; in C. Holmqvist-Jonsäter and C. Coker, eds. The Character of War in the 21st Century, Routledge, 2010). He has conducted fieldwork research and given consultancy in Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Iraqi-Kurdistan.
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Abstract

In much of the academic literature on contemporary militias, the focus is typically on their destructive anti-rebel character.  By contrast, the perspective of militias as agents of local governance, social reconstruction, and positive transformations is one that to date has been under-researched.  Taking a “relational” perspective, this article examines how peasant militias in Ayacucho Department, although initially formed for the purpose of violently opposing Shining Path rebels, became engaged in governing their own “wartime social order” in which they organised, coordinated, regulated, and signified activities and behaviour for the collective good of their local communities.  From it we might gain insight into how these peasant militias were able to avoid permanently becoming the predatory sort of militia that much of the academic literature warns about.


Resumen: Más allá de la contrainsurgencia: milicias campesinas  y el orden social de guerra en la guerra civil de Perú

 

Gran parte de la literatura académica sobre las milicias contemporáneas ha centrado su atención en su carácter destructivo anti-rebelde. Sin embargo, la perspectiva de las milicias como agentes de la gobernanza local, la reconstrucción social y las transformaciones positivas, hasta la fecha ha sido poco investigada. Tomando una perspectiva "relacional", este artículo examina cómo las milicias campesinas en el departamento de Ayacucho, que inicialmente se formaron con el objetivo de oponerse violentamente a los rebeldes de Sendero Luminoso, se comprometieron a gobernar su propio "orden social de guerra" en el que organizaban, coordinaban, regulaban, y manifestaban actividades y comportamiento para el bien colectivo de sus comunidades locales. A partir de esto, podríamos obtener una idea de cómo estas milicias campesinas pudieron evitar convertirse permanentemente en el tipo de milicia predatoria que advierte gran parte de la literatura académica.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18352/erlacs.10374
How to Cite: Fumerton, M. A. (2018). Beyond Counterinsurgency: Peasant Militias and Wartime Social Order in Peru’s Civil War. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (105), 61–86. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/erlacs.10374
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Published on 21 Jun 2018.
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