Health and Society
When societies urbanize and the demographic composition of the population changes, local administrations have to prepare proactively for future dead-disposal capacity and sustainable deathscapes. This situation occurs in the US and Europe, where the aging population requires more end-of-life and death services while urban space is scarce. In 2010 the New York Timesstated that “[c]emeteries are scrambling to create more space, and as lot prices have soared, the number of cremations has also risen” (Santora, 2010).
Statistics from the UNDOC routinely rank Latin America as the most violent region in the world, and more than 150,000 people died from homicide in the Americas in 2012. In Brazil alone, more than 50,000 people were victims of homicide in 2012, more than triple the number in the U.S. (UNDOC, 2013). The crime epidemic that has arisen in the past decade in Latin America has resulted in the militarization of conflict, most exemplified by the Mexican government in its ongoing battle with drug cartels.
Daniel Núñez, a graduate student in Pitt’s sociology department, in the dissertation defense phase of his studies, sat down with Panoramas’ Danielle Scalise to discuss his research on Guatemala. Daniel is focusing on violence following the civil war that ended in the mid 1990s. He is directly comparing two municipalities, Guastatoya and Totonicapán, which have demonstrated contrasting outcomes since 1996. Nuñez looks to the roles of local power relationships, ethnic divisions and extralegal “punishment” practices in this post-civil war context.
In Argentina, and elsewhere in Latin America, members of the middle and upper-middle classes tend to be the main spokespersons in public debates around the issue of citizens’ public safety (seguridad). Public discourse about urban violence tends to be dominated by those occupying privileged positions in the social structure – they are the ones who talk most about the issue because, presumably, they are the ones most affected by it.
In the spring semester of 2013, the University of Pittsburgh held an interdisciplinary conference entitled “Feminism and the Ruses of Coloniality” at which the Bolivian feminist Julieta Paredes gave a speech entitled “Communal Feminism is Revolutionary Feminism”. This year, Paredes attended the University’s First Symposium of Bolivianists, where she spoke again. Her talk was entitled “Depatriarchalization, a Categorical Proposal of Communal Feminism.”