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Violence at the Urban Margins$
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Javier Auyero, Philippe Bourgois, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190221447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190221447.001.0001

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The Moral Economy of Murder

The Moral Economy of Murder

Violence, Death, and Social Order in Nicaragua

(p.21) Chapter 1 The Moral Economy of Murder
Violence at the Urban Margins

Dennis Rodgers

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the evolving moral and ethical underpinnings of killing and dying in a gang-affected urban neighborhood in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. It contrasts the funerals of two gang members who died ten years apart in order to highlight how one death was considered morally and socially more meaningful than the other, and links this evolution in the moral economy of death to a transformation of Nicaraguan gang dynamics, as well as to the fundamentally dystopian evolution of broader postrevolutionary Nicaraguan society. As such, the chapter highlights how a “thanatopolitical” perspective—that is to say, one based on a politics of death—can be highly revealing of particular socioeconomic dynamics that are not necessarily immediately obvious when analyzed from the standpoint of the living.

Keywords:   Nicaragua, gangs, moral economy, violence, thanatopolitics, death

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