12136 - Victims, citizens, and recognition in postwar Peru

In 2001, the government of Peru established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR for its Spanish acronym) to investigate the period of the internal armed conflict, 1980-2000.  Following the collection of some 17,000 testimonials, the CVR released its Final Report in 2003, which concluded that the armed conflict resulted in over 69,000 deaths, a majority of which (54%) were attributed to Shining Path.  An additional finding of the CVR Final Report was that 75 percent of those who died in the conflict were native-speakers of Quechua or other indigenous languages, a figure which powerfully illustrates the extent to which the "epidemiology" of suffering during the violence was racialized.  But, the CVR´s nomenclature established an opposition between victims and perpetrators.This papers draws on a larger research I am currently working on the representation and auto-representation of the idea of victim in postwar Peru. My ethnographic data comes from rural Andean communities (Santiago de Lucanamarca, Ayacucho) and the Census of Victims that forms part of the Council for Reparations, which was created in 2006 as part of the recommendations suggested by the Final Report of the CVR. 

I am interested in understanding how the need to speak of a common past is related to the current way in which memory of violence is expressed and lived in the present. The borders between victims and perpetrators in rural communities are tense and porous as these peoples share a common space. Victim is not only the dead or the relative of the decease; victim is the social body that is broken into pieces by political violence. There is a need to understand the local dimension of the Peruvian recent conflict and how populations are working to reestablish their lives in their communities. Emphasis is placed on the recuperation of their local history, the community´s development, and their citizenship restored. This is a study of the new citizens that emerge in postwar Peru and, thus, on the politics of recognition involved in the process of recuperating this citizenship and symbolic dignity.  How is agency reconfigured and what kind of citizen and nation state emerges in the process? How is the image and discourse of victim constructed in postwar Peru after the TRC?

Autores: Ulfe, María Eugenia (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru)


University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575