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Reflections on Rural Violence in Latin America

Cristóbal Kay
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 22, No. 5 (Oct., 2001), pp. 741-775
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3993673
Page Count: 35
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Reflections on Rural Violence in Latin America
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Abstract

In recent decades rural violence has escalated in many Latin American countries. Although there is a growing body of literature on the topic, there exist as yet few comparative studies. While there are undoubtedly multiple and evolving causes of violence, this exploratory article focuses on the relationship between sociopolitical violence and agrarian structure and state policy. Particular attention is paid to the impact of agrarian reform and counter-reform experience on rural conflicts and violence. A contrast is also drawn with countries which have not undergone any significant land reform. The cases discussed are Chile, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and several Central American countries (Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador). The complexity of rural violence is demonstrated and the case for further comparative studies is argued, so as to advance our knowledge on the causes, consequences and resolution of violence.

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