Violence and Community Capabilities: Insights for Building Safe and Inclusive Cities in Central America

20 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015 Last revised: 7 Nov 2015

See all articles by Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz

Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- Costa Rica

Larissa Brioso

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- El Salvador

Rodolfo Calderón Umaña

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- Costa Rica

Margarita Montoya

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- El Salvador

Karla Salazar

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- Costa Rica

Mario Zetino

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- El Salvador

Daniel E. Esser

American University - School of International Service

Eric Hershberg

American University - Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS)

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

This paper offers insights into dynamics of urban violence in two Central American countries that have evolved very differently historically. Costa Rica boasts the lowest overall levels of poverty and inequality of any country on the Isthmus, and has benefited from decades of stable and relatively inclusive governance highlighted by ambitious social policies. El Salvador, by contrast, exhibits severe levels of poverty and inequality typical of its neighbors, as well as a long history of exclusionary rule and corresponding inattention to social welfare. Yet our research reveals significant parallels between the two countries. This three-year, multi-method comparative study, carried out by teams at FLACSO-Costa Rica and FLACSO-El Salvador in collaboration with American University and with support from the IDRC/DFID Safe and Inclusive Cities program, focused on violence in two impoverished urban communities in Costa Rica and three in El Salvador. In all five settings, we analyzed neighborhood dynamics as well as community assessments of anti-violence interventions.

We identified numerous lessons, some of which are counterintuitive, as well as concrete measures for consideration by regional, national, and local policymakers and community actors.

Keywords: Central America, Costa Rica, El Salvador, urban violence, cities, anti-violence interventions, social exclusion, communities, community capabilities, poverty, gang violence, domestic violence

Suggested Citation

Pérez Sáinz, Juan Pablo and Brioso, Larissa and Calderón Umaña, Rodolfo and Montoya, Margarita and Salazar, Karla and Zetino, Mario and Esser, Daniel E. and Hershberg, Eric, Violence and Community Capabilities: Insights for Building Safe and Inclusive Cities in Central America (November 2015). CLALS Working Paper Series No. 8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2685419

Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- Costa Rica ( email )

Costa Rica

Larissa Brioso

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- El Salvador ( email )

El Salvador

Rodolfo Calderón Umaña

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- Costa Rica ( email )

Costa Rica

Margarita Montoya

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- El Salvador ( email )

El Salvador

Karla Salazar

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- Costa Rica ( email )

Costa Rica

Mario Zetino

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)- El Salvador ( email )

El Salvador

Daniel E. Esser

American University - School of International Service ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
+1 (202) 885-1892 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://danielesser.org

Eric Hershberg (Contact Author)

American University - Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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