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Unsettled/Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs/Los niños en un mundo de las pandillas
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Unsettled/Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs/Los niños en un mundo de las pandillas

by Donna De Cesare, Fred Ritchin (Foreword by), Javier Auyero (Translator)
 

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Central American nations have recently had the highest per capita homicide rates in the world—surpassing the per capita death toll even in war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan—and gang violence has been the dominant explanation for this tragic state of affairs. But why has gang activity become endemic in the region? Photojournalist Donna De

Overview

Central American nations have recently had the highest per capita homicide rates in the world—surpassing the per capita death toll even in war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan—and gang violence has been the dominant explanation for this tragic state of affairs. But why has gang activity become endemic in the region? Photojournalist Donna De Cesare began covering Central America during the civil wars of the 1980s, focusing especially on the disrupted lives of children and youths, and continued her photography project in Central American refugee communities in the United States in the 1990s and postwar Central America in the 2000s. She documents a history of repression, violence, and trauma, in which gangs are as much a symptom as a cause of trauma, trapped as they are by social neglect.

With profound empathy for a reality that is too easily defined and dismissed as repugnant, Unsettled/Desasosiego takes us on a visual journey into the lives of children deeply affected by civil war and gang violence. De Cesare’s photographs and bilingual personal narrative trace the evolution and expansion of the notorious 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha gangs from the barrios of Los Angeles to the shanties of Central America. They show how decades of war and violence—as well as the illegal drug trade—have created a culture that allows gangs to flourish. At the same time, her photographs portray the humanity of gang members and their families, encouraging us to understand the lives of youths at the margins and to take responsibility for the consequences of political and social actions that have ruptured Central American society for generations.

Editorial Reviews

The Texas Observer - Patrick Michels
"Between chapters of text, De Cesare lets her images stand with a minimum of explanation—just year and place. Close readers will recognize recurring characters by their tattoos, but given a less detailed reading, the images offer a sense of the tremendous scope of De Cesare’s work, and the scale of the troubles she documents."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292744394
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
04/01/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

Alma Guillermoprieto
"Donna De Cesare’s long years of committed observation, her keen understanding, and her camera eye combine to form something as necessary as it is unusual: an essential history of a phenomenon. She describes the devastation of El Salvador’s youth carefully and precisely, and rids us of all the stereotypes. There is no shock here; only compassionate understanding."
Mary Ellen Mark
"Donna De Cesare is clearly one of the great documentary photographers of our time."

Meet the Author

A recipient of numerous honors, including National Press Photographers Association awards, the Dorothea Lange Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the Mother Jones Award for Social Documentary Photography, and a Fulbright Fellowship, Donna De Cesare is Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Her photography has been exhibited internationally in venues such as Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France; Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City; the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, China; the Museo Tecleño in El Salvador; the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, Germany; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

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