Naming security - constructing identity

'Mayan-women' in Guatemala on the eve of 'peace'

By Maria Stern

Naming security - constructing identity

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7116-4
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: September 2005
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / International relations, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies, International relations, Political control & freedoms, Politics
  • Series: New Approaches to Conflict Analysis


How do people seek security in relation to their sense of 'who they are'? How can one make sense of insecurity at the intersection of competing identity claims? Based on the voices of Mayan women, Stern critically re-considers the connections between security, subjectivity and identity. By engaging in a careful reading of how Mayan women 'speak' security in relation to the different contexts that inform their lives, she explores the multiplicity of both identity and security, and questions the main story of security imbedded in the modern 'paradox of sovereignty.' Her provocative analysis thus raises vital questions about what might constitute 'security', and the 'insecurity' that is its inevitable supplement. Her study also offers an innovative methodology that bridges many different disciplines and substantively develops the method of 'reading' politics as a 'textual practice'. It will be essential reading for students of security, identity politics, feminism, and Latin American studies.


1. Introduction
2. Theorizing security and identity
3. Reading Mayan women's in/security: a framework for analysis
4. Reading in/security in the family/community context
5. Constructing security-identity in Ladino-Mayan relations
6. Organizations/movements: building a collective self
7. The political economy of Mayan women
8. Mayan women as citizens - Guatemala a nation-state?
9. Concluding comments


Maria Stern is Lecturer in the Department of Peace and Development Studies at the University of Göteborg, Sweden

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