“There is real personal danger for anthropologists who dare to speak and write against terror; by doing so, they potentially and sometimes actually bring the terror down on themselves.”—Jeffrey A. Sluka, from the Introduction
Death Squad is the first work to focus specifically on the anthropology of state terror. It brings together an international group of anthropologists who have done extensive research in areas marked by extreme forms of state violence and who have studied state terror from the perspective of victims and survivors.
The book presents eight case studies from seven countries—Spain, India (Punjab and Kashmir), Argentina, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, and the Philippines—to demonstrate the cultural complexities and ambiguities of terror when viewed at the local level and from the participants’ point of view. Contributors deal with such topics as the role of Loyalist death squads in the culture of terror in Northern Ireland, the three-tier mechanism of state terror in Indonesia, the complex role of religion in violence by both the state and insurgents in Punjab and Kashmir, and the ways in which “disappearances” are used to destabilize and demoralize opponents of the state in Argentina, Guatemala, and India.