Yvon Grenier, unsatisfied with the idea that structural patterns are responsible for the revolt in El Salvador, demonstrates that it is the ideas and ideologies of the insurgents which are responsible for not only this uprising, but all uprisings.
Yvon Grenier is an associate professor of political science at St. Francis Xavier University, in Nova Scotia. Former editor of the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, he is the author of many publications, including Guerre et Pouvoir au Salvador (Les Presses de l’Université).
Ideas do not reflect nations. They create them, subterraneously, or, as in the case of El Salvador, abruptly, propelled by a strong and impetuous political will. Using this principle, Yvon Grenier challenges the dominant explanation of the causes of revolt in El Salvador. He demonstrates that the ideas and ideologies of insurgents, not structural patterns, are the keys to understanding the roots of insurgency. Grenier's focus is the emergence of insurgency in El Salvador (roughly, the 1970s), a period too often confounded with subsequent periods of the revolutionary cycle.This new information, complex portraits of real people, reveals the inadequacies of simple socioeconomic structural explanations, such as poverty, and exploitation by a narrow elite, to explain the course of an entire movement.
"Grenier's book reminds us that ideas have consequences. The fantasies that academics in North America and Europe incorporated into the dominant paradigm, Salvadoran and other Latin American ideologies tried to put into practice, with devastating consequences. . . .It remains to be seen, however, whether North American scholars, who once espoused the dominant paradigm. . . with nothing less than ideological fervor, will show the same intellectual humility in the face of Grenier's devastating critique."—Alfred G. Cuzan, University of West Florida
“. . . all serious students of social movements and revolutions should read this important new book.”—Mitchell A. Seligson, University of Pittsburgh