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By Winifred Tate

At a time while a world consensus on human rights criteria appears rising, this wealthy examine steps again to discover how the belief of human rights is admittedly hired through activists and human rights pros. Winifred Tate, an anthropologist and activist with wide adventure in Colombia, unearths that considerably varied principles approximately human rights have formed 3 teams of human rights execs operating there--nongovernmental activists, nation representatives, and armed forces officials. Drawing from the existence tales of high-profile activists, pioneering interviews with army officers, and study on the United international locations Human Rights fee in Geneva, Counting the useless underscores the significance of reading and knowing human rights discourses, methodologies, and associations in the context of broader cultural and political debates.

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Additional info for Counting the Dead: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights Activism in Colombia (California Series in Public Anthropology)

Example text

The concept that best seemed to address these issues was embedded ethnography, which I first heard discussed in a paper presented by Stephen Jackson at a seminar on studies of humanitarian aid. This concept highlights the issues of institutional positioning as a central factor in the production of knowledge about modern transnational processes. Ethnographers assuming positions within institutions not simply as aca- Introduction 13 demics but also as participants in different kinds of institutional practices over time can enrich, rather than degrade and debase, anthropological analyses.

More important, I did not focus on their attitude toward human rights from the perspective of a party in the conflict but as a group of self-proclaimed human rights professionals. Like all Colombians, everyone described in my narrative has lived with violence. Small-town activists and local human rights officials face Introduction 21 daily confrontations with men with guns, military men go into combat, well-known human rights activists and national bureaucrats confront the distorted voice threatening from the end of the phone line.

His articulation of the “culture of terror, space of death” as a place of transformation has been widely employed (quoting Conrad) “to penetrate the veil while maintaining its hallucinatory quality” (Taussig 1987: 10). He emphasizes the difficulty of fixing the meaning of violence, as an inherent quality of terror is confusion (Taussig 1987, 1999). He returns to these issues throughout his work on Colombia, most recently in a moving meditation on the paramilitary takeover of the small town where he has based his fieldwork since 1969 (Taussig 2004).

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