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Title: Fragmentary states : a study of power in conflict narratives from Peru and Colombia
Author: Hunt, Rosanna
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis illustrates how state imaginaries, ideas of sovereignty, and the agency of violence are presented and engaged as shared preoccupations of narratives of the Peruvian Internal Conflict (1980-1992) and the Colombian Conflict (1964-Present). The thesis’s central questions stem from a deliberate move against the grain to challenge ways in which state and counter-state actors are portrayed, and to see what impact narratives of the soldier as human rights-abuser and the guerrillero as terrorist have on our making sense and telling stories of conflicts’ many tragedies. The thesis engages with the paradigms of biopolitics, (post-)colonial necropolitics and the friend-enemy structuring of the political to shed light on how conflicts in both nations play a crucial role in the fragmentary and conflicted transition to, and specific regional configuration of, neoliberalism. It thus situates the Latin American filmmaker and author in a position in which they must make coherent the deregulated use of violence in the name of law. The first chapter details the recent resurgence of interest in the 1985 siege of Colombia’s Palace of Justice, and reads artistic interpretations of this watershed moment for the light they shed on foundationalist state narratives of violence. The second, building on these works’ anti-foundationalism, explores how literary representations of Sendero Luminoso soldiers in Peru humanise the figure of the necropolitically-defined state ‘enemy’. The subsequent chapter examines Colombian cinema’s return to the rural, specifically as a scene of conflict already profoundly marked by violence’s urbanising effects. It does so to explore the crises surrounding the witnessing and narration of violence. Following the third chapter’s emphasis on the foreclosure of marginal voices, the closing chapters examine narratives which address the re-inscription of friend-enemy distinctions, in post-conflict urban contexts, through the regulation of the bodies of both victims and victimisers.
Supervisor: O'Bryen, Rory Sponsor: Cambridge Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Colombia conflict ; Latin American Literature ; Necropolitics ; Peruvian internal conflict ; State theory