Narrative of Women before the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and non-repetition in Colombia.

Project: Research Project

Project Details


Narrative has a very important place within the construction of discourse, truth and memory. The narrative, which is also known as storytelling, presents itself as the knowledge of reality, narrated by those who have lived it and therefore is part of the general and global construction of reality.

According to Kristin Langellier (2004) “people make sense of things, acquire identities, interact with each other and participate in conversations through storytelling2” consequently, storytelling is an integral part of daily life and It is the most basic form of communication and as such, it is a performance through which a story, something that happened, is represented (Langellier,2004, 3).

Walter Benjamin points out: “The narrator takes what he narrates from the experience of himself or others and in turn converts it into the experience of those who listen to the story” (Benjamin, 1987, 69), therefore, Benjamin understands the process of narrative as a reflective process in which the audience consciously grasps the narrator's story and appropriates it.

It happens then that the story obtains recognition if it is appropriated, listened to and replicated.

Feminist legal criticism has used narrative both as a tool of “critique” and as a strategy for reconstruction (Dailey, 1993). Narrative is associated with the practice of awareness, which implies, according to Katerine Bartlett (1991): “a collaborative and integrative process that seeks to articulate one's own experiences and make them have meaning in relation to others who also relate their own experiences”3 (Barlett, 1991)”.

Thus, narrative becomes a process in which people - women - become aware of their own experience and, when practiced in this way, it becomes an “art of self-awareness” (Dailey, 1993). For Dailey (1993), the use of narratives positively implies overcoming anti-essentialist criticism and reconciling the conflicts that it generates, it also implies achieving a comprehensive sense of identity through the narrative of stories, this allows establishing a shared victimization, since women's stories expose common gender patterns in societies where inequality exists, which allows political agency and movements to be established and sustained (Moi, Riley cited in Dailey, 1993).

Robin West considers that since narratives have this political purpose, it is understandable why many of them have been excluded from legal discourses (West, 2015).

West calls these “the marginalized narratives.”
For Dailey (1993), narratives that are expressed in certain contexts in addition to being heard require being received by an empathetic listener, which causes the person listening to become involved in such a way that they can search for and understand the traces of their own experience. .

In this way, the door is opened to a social integration of the victims' experience, which makes common traces visible. The use of empathy as a creative part in this process will be decisive for the appreciation of the narrative.

Narratives are expressed in diverse scenarios through multiple actors, they are a form of discourse, although it is the most basic, since they communicate and express stories, emotions, and construct realities from a totally subjective perspective.

The narrator simply represents his own story to others without emotional filters.

However, in judicial contexts the narrative seeks other objectives that do not only involve representing a reality from the past.

Robin West believes that we have to be cautious in pointing out which narratives belong to the legal context: “the effectiveness of the narrative cannot be discussed in a decontextualized way.

Whether or not a particular narrative should be heard in any legal context will depend on particular situations such as: the type of procedure, the type of narrative, and also the actual and intended effects of that narrative4 (West, 2015)”

Commitments / Obligations

First document of inputs for carrying out the research.
Collection and systematization of data.

Conducting interviews/JEP and Special Truth and Justice Commission for Peace.

Transcription of strategic interviews for research.

Analysis of data.

Drafting final report, presentation of results.

Research product document, presentation of results.

Inputs for book/article research product.
Effective start/end date1/11/212/1/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Main Funding Source

  • National


  • Bogotá D.C.


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