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Law in a Lawless Land: Diary of a Limpieza in Colombia

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A modern nation in a state of total disorder, Colombia is an international flashpoint—wracked by more than half a century of civil war, political conflict, and drug-trade related violence—despite a multibillion dollar American commitment that makes it the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.

Law in a Lawless Land offers a rare and penetrating insight into the nature
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Paperback, 222 pages
Published November 15th 2005 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 2003)
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Erok
an extremely engaging and personal diary of an anthropologist who has been visiting the same village in colombia since the late sixties to understand why there is so much violence, and the effect it has on people. Using his interactions with people to describe their take on events shows how much fear and confusion there is, and how that's used to suppress the populace. He is also very critical of the US involvement (duh). For those who want to understand how this changed and affected ordinary pe ...more
Athena
This small book is the revised version of a diary Taussig kept during a two-week stay in a small Colombian town undergoing a limpieza (cleansing of "delinquents" by paramilitaries). It is a very vivid portrayal of what daily life is like in a society where, in Walter Benjamin's words, "the state of emergency ... is not the exception but the rule." Taussig recounts the stories of various acquaintances and describes the circumstances of specific murders as he grapples with what it means to live un ...more
Julie
Powerful and sad. A creative and inspiring way to write contemporary academic criticism: a mix of the personal and the reflective/analytical.
Erica Reichert
A fascinating, thoughtful, and intrinsically moral examination of state-sponsored political violence in Columbia. True to the diary form, Taussig's narrative sticks close to an on-the-ground journalistic (or anthropological) narrative of day-to-day life in Columbia under paramilitary rule. The only limit of the book is its microscopic focus on single man-on-the-street informants. For a more broad-scale examination of contemporary Columbia, readers will need to look elsewhere.
John
Just in case you were afraid that the world was too nice...
The things happening in Colombia--in 2001--are crazy (though we never hear about them). Taussig, as an anthropologist, tries to personalize the intensity of the fucked-up-edness that exists in a country where para-military right wing wackos run around killing outcasts and strangers (and, supposedly, FARC guerrillas). This book is about how everyday violence twists society out of itself...well-written, depressing, interesting
Jono
Forget all those dramatised guns, gangs and dollops of cocaine packed colombia books. I'm sitting in Medellin writing this -this book says far more about life here than that other shit. Ok the guy gets a bit obscure at times but 90% of it is spot on
David
This is a fascinating, disturbing, and extremely thoughtful examination of legal, quasi-legal, and illegal violence in Colombia.
Geo
there are some excellent things about this book, but there are also some pretentious and uncritical moments.
Dylan
Very well written diary all about crazy situations in Colombia. Kept me hooked AND informed.
Daniel Burton-Rose
Grim journal of a social cleansing by an old Colombia hand.
Mills College Library
303.60986 T228 2005
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Michael Taussig (born 1940) earned a medical degree from the University of Sydney, received his PhD. in anthropology from the London School of Economics and is a professor at Columbia University and European Graduate School. Although he has published on medical anthropology, he is best known for his engagement with Marx's idea of commodity fetishism, especially in terms of the work of Walter Benja ...more
More about Michael T. Taussig...
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