"To Overcome" Contexts of Violence: Popular Education and Historical Memory in a Maya Achi Community
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Postwar Guatemala continues to contend with ongoing criminal and state violence, insecurity, racial exclusion and disparity, exacerbated by neoliberal and neocolonial economic policies. These patterns are rooted in centuries of colonial exploitation that intensified in genocide against the Mayan and other indigenous peoples in the early eighties. This thesis explores Maya Achi youth interpretations of the historical and contemporary roots of violence through their interaction with the mandates and practice of the New Hope Foundation Intercultural Bilingual Institute in Rabinal. The institute combines historical memory, a participatory methodology, and cultural revitalization within an intercultural framework. By embracing institute themes of interculturalism, citizenship, leadership and cooperative learning, participants provide insight into the potential to transform structural violence through the promotion of alternative visions of grassroots development and reweaving community in this rural municipality, still impacted by the traumas of armed conflict.