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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


MENDEZ G., Cecilia  and  GRANADOS MOYA, Carla. Peru's forgotten wars: formation of the State and a nation's imaginary. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.42, pp.57-71. ISSN 1678-9873.

Unlike other countries of the Americas, Peru lacks a national memory regarding its 19th century civil wars. The latter has been eclipsed by the overwhelming memory of the Pacific War that Peru and Bolivia lost to Chile(1879-1883) The present essay aims to rescue the memory of the 19th century Peruvian civil wars from oblivion, beginning with the wars of independence. The questions we ask are motivated by the recent history of war begun by Sendero Luminoso between 1980 and the end of the 1990s, in which Andean peasants took on the repressive functions of the State by taking up arms to defeat Senderista insurgency. This situation has interesting parallels with the 19th century civil wars. We argue that the study of the 19th century civil wars, in light of the more recent internal turmoil, provides a fertile opportunity to discuss notions of citizenship and belonging, the relationship between war and the making of the State, as well as the advantages and drawbacks of the Weberian concept of the State as an entity that monopolizes legitimate violence. We highlight the importance of the civil organization of rural populations over the course of the war and, in broader terms, the building of the State.

Keywords : Peru; War; Civil War; National Identity; XXth Century; National State.

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