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Title: The relationship between internally and externally generated violence in an Andean Mestizo Colombian community
Author: Alvarez, Santiago
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis is a study of the relationship between internally and externally generated violence in an Andean Mestizo Colombian community. It is based on fifteen-months of fieldwork in a highland peasant community in Sumapaz, a region of the Colombian Andes. The research proposes an explanation for the multiple expressions of violence reported at a local level. The explanation is centred around contrasting gender and family ideals that compete for pre-eminence in the community. A dominant patriarchal, hierarchical and individualistic ideal is in conflict with a fragmented mother-focused pattern associated with ideas of equality and peasant solidarity. Part I of the thesis introduces the main theoretical problems, the diverse types of violence that affect the community, the people and the geographical setting. It consists of two chapters, the introductory and the historical one. Part II of the thesis shows how the community is affected by internal violence. Chapter three describes the family structure: domestic violence unveils the fight for control of the household. Chapter four analyses the feuds in the village; several peasant families are involved in blood feuds and an analysis of their family histories reveals tensions between two opposing ideals about gender and family. Chapter five describes differences in funerary rituals: funerals of young male heroes are opposed to funerals of women who committed suicide. Part III focuses on the external forces and their interaction with the community. Chapter six describes the drug dealers and their relation with the community: drug lords successfully reconstruct hierarchy in an egalitarian setting by re-distributing wealth to the peasants and by pouring money into the system of feasts and social celebrations. Chapter seven analyses the political role of the guerrillas and their egalitarian values. Chapter eight describes the limits of the influence of the nation state and the ambiguous way it is perceived by the community. Chapter nine analyses religion, particularly the religious struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism. This research starts out from an analysis of the family unit. Then the community in which this family unit exists is explored, and, afterwards, it is situated in relation to the Nation State, the guerrillas, the drug lords and external forces that influence the community. It moves away from the micro level of the family unit towards larger sets of social aggregation, opening concentric circles, ending up inserting the community in a globalised world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available