With these essays about insecurity and violence, the contributors to Crisis of Governance in Maya Guatemala: Indigenous Responses to a Failing State wade into a topic that has received disproportionate attention in the scholarly literature on Guatemala. The very proliferation of such studies is a reflection of the many manifestations of violence in that nation's recent past and present. Tragically, violent crime has increased since the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords that ended the nation's 36-year civil war (1960–1996). As its title suggests, the volume under review here explores the ways in which the Guatemalan government's inability to maintain stability and security, let alone create conditions whereby the majority of its citizens can thrive, affects Mayas.

One of the questions at the heart of this volume is how power and authority are exercised locally in the context of a weak national...

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