Social Representations of the Colombian State in Scenarios of Armed Conflict

  • Hoyos Gomez, Diana Rocio (PI)
  • Granada, Juan Sebastián (CoI)

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Some theorists have emphasized the importance of analyzing the cultural constitution of states, meaning "how people perceive the state, how their understandings are shaped by their particular locations and their intimate encounters with the processes of the state and its officials and how the state manifests itself in their lives" (Aradhana and Gupta, 2006:11). This perspective, which emphasizes the analysis of the cultural processes from which the State is experienced, questions those approaches that tend to consider the State as a unitary, cohesive entity and as the central place of power. These cultural processes of the state, which are fundamental to understanding "what the state means to its people, how it is instituted in their daily lives and where its boundaries are set, are located in the sphere of representation, but also in the domain of the daily practices of state agencies and officials" (Aradhana and Gupta, 2006:11).
This research falls within this line of analysis of the State. While it is true that studies on the Colombian State are not non-existent, the approaches that privilege analysis from the perspective of the constitution and cultural construction of the State have been practically unexplored. This approach can be useful for the analysis of the Colombian State, particularly in local areas that have been affected by the presence of armed actors and by the dynamics of violence. In relation to this, it is important to consider that the Colombian case has experienced a long armed conflict that has not only not led to the collapse of the State and institutions, but on the contrary has led to important levels of coexistence.
This does not mean that the armed conflict and the presence of armed actors have not had profound implications in the local scenarios where it has manifested itself directly. In fact, some studies have begun to show that the armed conflict and the logics associated with the presence of armed actors have affected, redefined and even transformed the local state (Duncan, 2006; Uribe, 2001; Bolívar, 2006; González, et al, 2003). These analyses, however, have been centered mainly on the institutional and functional dimension of the State, with practically no studies addressing the cultural element in the process of constituting, redefining and transforming the State.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2/21/1112/21/12

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