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This book captures the complexity and humanity of one of the most agonizing of contemporary problems—that of terrorist violence. Basque Violence is in fact a pioneering attempt to give a fully contextualized, cultural account of the endemic conflict engaging Basque villagers both as protagonists and as spectators. The author focuses on his native village of Itziar in the province of Guipúzcoa, and many of the Basque activists he discusses are friends from his youth. They are now lionized by the villagers despite the fact that their actions have become increasingly problematic for the villagers themselves. Far from being the work of a “terrorism expert” seeking counter-insurgency solutions or concentrating on the usual search for the causes and consequences of violence, this study attempts instead to understand the conscious and unconscious presuppositions of the violence. The author becomes the narrator of a drama of Homeric proportions in which ordinary men are forced into acts of heroism and errors of tragic consequence.
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Joseba Zulaika is currently Director of the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.Review:
"Zulaika has made a unique and moving contribution to the growing body of ethnography by anthropologists returning to their ancestral societies and communities, a needed complement to R.P. Clark’s important The Basque Insurgents: ETA 1952-1980 and a test of anthropology’s capacity to explicate what seems not only senseless but abhorrent to outsiders." -–Choice
"“Zulaika has “not only greatly enriched out understanding Basque violence and its causes, but also has provided a searing personal document that may stand as a model of the ethnographer’s craft...This is one of those rare books that raises the level of sophistication of an entire intellectual enterprise."”-American Ethnologist
"Basque Violence is the most skillful, imaginative ethnography of Iberia since the publication of Belmonte de los Cabellerros...A sensitively written, exciting book that deserves to be read by more than just ethnographers of Europe." -Man
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