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Campesinos and the State: Building and Experiencing the State in Rural Communities in the 'Post-conflict' Transition in Montes de María, Colombia

Hoyos Gomez, Diana Rocío (2020) Campesinos and the State: Building and Experiencing the State in Rural Communities in the 'Post-conflict' Transition in Montes de María, Colombia. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This research is an ethnographic study of relationships and interactions between campesino communities and the state during the escalation of the armed conflict and the ongoing 'post-conflict' transition in the mountain zone of Montes de María, Colombia. This study contributes to the understanding of state building 'from below', with a focus on rural areas in contexts of 'post-conflict' transitions.

I examine forms of political violence carried out in campesino communities by state actors during the militarization of the region and the long-term effects of that violence on campesinos and their relationships with the state. I analyze how citizen-state relationships and experiences of the state are shaped in the 'post-conflict' transition in rural areas, in the context of state processes centered on the victims of the armed conflict and the implementation of the peace agreements between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas. I explore continuities of violence in campesino communities during the last decade. I also examine state images constructed in these territories.

I argue that state violence carried out in campesino communities as part of counterinsurgency practices constituted rural populations as subjects at the margins of the state. Practices of producing visibility and invisibility of past state violence by campesinos and state actors and the lasting effects of violence continue shaping relationships with the state.

The Law of Victims and Land Restitution created opportunities regarding the rights of the victims. However, campesinos experiences have also been shaped by the partial or slow fulfillment of reparations and a politics of waiting. As part of the peace accords, the Development Plans with a Territorial Focus created opportunities to reshape citizen-state relationships by relying on a territorial approach and a participatory process. Rural communities participated actively in the formulation of these plans but the rights of these populations have yet to materialize on the ground.

Finally, institutional efforts to reshape relationships between the state and rural inhabitants have coexisted with structural violence and the threats that social leaders continue to face in rural areas. Narratives and images of state abandonment continue being constructed and mobilized by campesinos in a context of state interventions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hoyos Gomez, Diana Rocíodrh65@pitt.edudrh65
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMusante,
Committee CoChairCabot,
Committee MemberHayden,
Committee MemberGotkowitz,
Committee MemberMatza,
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 May 2020
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 6 August 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 304
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnography of the state, political violence, state building, campesinos,'post-conflict' transitions, human rights, victims, Colombia
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 14:06
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2020 14:06


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