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Adrienne Pine, "Honduras and 21st Century Fascism: Have the Masks Come Off?

Friday, February 5, 2010
12:00 AM
1644 SSWB (International Institute)

Adrienne Pine is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University and is also the Senior Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. A militant medical anthropologist, Dr. Pine has done fieldwork in Honduras, Mexico, Korea, the United States, and Egypt. Her book, Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras (UC Press 2008), examines the symbolic violence resulting from Hondurans’ embodied obsession with certain forms of "real" violence as a necessary condition for the acceptance of violent forms of modernity and capitalism. Prior to and following the June 2009 military coup in Honduras, she has collaborated with numerous organizations and individuals, both inside and outside the academy, to bring international attention to the Honduran struggle to halt state violence (in its multiple forms). She blogs at her recent book Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras, Adrienne Pine describes targeted attacks by military and mercenary forces on the poor, government policy answering to the dictates of transnational corporations, assassinated journalists, and rampant corruption. And that was before the June 28th, 2009 military coup. So what has changed since? One answer, a common refrain among Hondurans resisting the repressive policies of the de facto government, is that "the masks have come off." In this talk, Pine approaches the current, perhaps liminal moment of Honduran "unmasking"—in which normally invisible structures and agents of violence have been made manifest—as desubjectivation. If we are to take seriously the claims of those Hondurans that their current government, in contrast to preceding ones, is an illegitimate fascist regime propped up by the United States, we need to re-examine what constitutes fascism, and why social scientists have been so hesitant to apply the label in non-European, non-historical contexts. Based on an analysis of Honduran governance during the past six months, Pine argues that indeed, rather than saving the continent from Hugo Chavez's 21st Century Socialism, the military and corporate backers of the Honduran coup regime have pushed the region toward 21st Century Fascism.