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Book Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala

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Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Kevin Lewis O'Neill(Author)

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“I’m not perfect,” Mateo confessed. “Nobody is. But I try.” Secure the Soul shuttles between the life of Mateo, a born-again ex-gang member in Guatemala and the gang prevention programs that work so hard to keep him alive. Along the way, this poignantly written ethnography uncovers the Christian underpinnings of Central American security. In the streets of Guatemala City—amid angry lynch mobs, overcrowded prisons, and paramilitary death squads—millions of dollars empower church missions, faith-based programs, and seemingly secular security projects to prevent gang violence through the practice of Christian piety. With Guatemala increasingly defined by both God and gangs, Secure the Soul details an emerging strategy of geopolitical significance: regional security by way of good Christian living.

“Through extraordinary fieldwork, Kevin Lewis O’Neill unearths the everyday state of emergency of Guatemala's evangelical Christian response to gang violence. He prompts us to rethink such issues as governmentality, extra-judicial violence, incarceration, addiction, Christian piety, and ‘the soul’, while making visible the painful social suffering that so urgently requires understanding.”— Philippe Bourgois, author of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio "Powerfully narrated and visually arresting, Secure the Soul is a remarkable study of the interface of Christian ministry, gang networks, and city life in Central America. You will leave this book with a deep and sober understanding of the porous ways Christian piety informs care and security there where the political field has been emptied out and a belief in this world is all but gone. A landmark contribution to the anthropology of religion and urban studies."—João Biehl, author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

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Book details

  • PDF | 304 pages
  • Kevin Lewis O'Neill(Author)
  • University of California Press (January 16, 2015)
  • English
  • 9
  • Politics & Social Sciences

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Review Text

  • By ReactingtoLit on January 1, 2016

    Interesting examination of the efforts to help young men move away from gangs. O'Neill examines how Christian ideals are used as the basis for gang prevention. While he shares some successes, he also acknowledges the limitations of such intervention and the difficulties with long term transformation. Engaging and informative, the book provides revealing insights into the difficulties of gang prevention in Guatemala.


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