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Living in the shadow of death : gangs, violence and social order in urban Nicaragua, 1996–2002

Rodgers, Dennis (2006) Living in the shadow of death : gangs, violence and social order in urban Nicaragua, 1996–2002. Journal of Latin American Studies, 38 (2). pp. 267-292. ISSN 0022-216X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0022216X0600071X


This article explores the dynamics of the youth gang (pandilla) phenomenon in contemporary urban Nicaragua, drawing on longitudinal ethnographic research conducted with a Managua pandilla in 1996–97 and in 2002. Pandillas and their violent practices are conceived as constituting a form of local social structuration in the face of broader conditions of high crime, insecurity, and socio-political breakdown. This form of ‘ street-level politics ’ changed significantly between 1997 and 2002, however, evolving from a form of collective social violence to a more individually and economically motivated type of brutality. This transformation is related to wider structural processes, which are described as coming together and precipitating a form of ‘ social death ’ in contemporary Nicaragua.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: (c) 2006 Cambridge University Press.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:42

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