Volume 40 Number 2
Published: March 1, 2009
This article argues that the position of political violence in developing countries has changed in the post‐Cold War period, from being seen (by some) as a legitimate response to dictatorship to become associated with criminality and delinquency on the one hand and terrorism on the other. This provides a new context for ‘identity politics’, the definition of which has tended to become narrower and in practice more restrictive, leading to a hardening of ‘community’ boundaries. Taking the Maoist insurgency in Peru as a case study, the article enquires how identity, violence and security have been lived and understood by people in the Andean region. At the centre is an emblematic narrative of an indigenous schoolteacher who explores connections between his experiences of Peru's agrarian and education reforms, early support and later rejection of political violence, and the way his community envisioned and practised security in response.