The Ship of Theseus and the problem of “postwar” answers to contemporary Guatemalan problems

Gavin Weston, Natalie Djohari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article considers the problems caused by the ubiquitous use of terms such as “postwar” and “postconflict” in the analysis of contemporary Guatemala. The terms feed a historical reductionism which conflates present-day social problems with the violence of the past while also conflating continuity, change, and historical and analytical categories. Drawing upon Plutarch's thought experiment “The Ship of Theseus”, we explore the paradox at the heart of the use of “postwar” and its synonyms and demonstrate the potentially harmful effects connected to the dominance of the term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-424
Number of pages20
JournalHistory of Anthropology Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this