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Contested Cornerstones of Nonviolent National Self-Perception in Costa Rica: A Historical Approach


  • Sebastian Huhn

    () (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)


Crime, violence, and insecurity are perceived as society’s biggest problems in contemporary Costa Rica. This degree of priority is especially remarkable because the country has always been considered the peaceful exception in the violent Central American region. In this paper I analyze four cornerstones of the nonviolent national self-perception in the 1940s and 1980s as the fundamental basis for the current talk of crime: the civil war, the abolition of the military, the proclamation of neutrality, and the peace plan for Central America and the subsequent granting of the Nobel Peace Prize. The result of the analysis is the determination that these historical cornerstones were not publicly discussed as expressions of the nonviolent identity for which they are today cited as evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Huhn, 2009. "Contested Cornerstones of Nonviolent National Self-Perception in Costa Rica: A Historical Approach," GIGA Working Paper Series 101, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:101

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:03:p:379-390_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:66:y:1972:i:01:p:68-90_13 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Huhn, 2009. "The Culture of Fear and Control in Costa Rica (I): Crime Statistics and Law Enforcement," GIGA Working Paper Series 104, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    2. Sebastian Huhn, 2009. "The Culture of Fear and Control in Costa Rica (II): The Talk of Crime and Social Changes," GIGA Working Paper Series 108, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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    Costa Rica; violence; crime; social order; national identity; public discourse;

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