Necroscapes: The Political Life of Mutilated and Errant Bodies in the Rivers of Colombia

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Different narratives in Colombia show how the apparition of mutilated and unidentified corpses in rivers–as an outcome of decades of war and violence–has reorganised national geography, as well as the affective relationships with space and death. Based on literary sources and testimonies, this article analyses how the presence of human remains has affected the ways of life in territories marked by necropolitics, transforming the perception of the threshold between life and death, and the conditions of existence of those involved. First, the article explores how the inhabitants of places located on the banks of the Magdalena and Cauca rivers have elaborated their interactions with the remains that appear on the rivers, and how these interactions produce frictions with expert knowledge and practices such as forensic practices. Secondly, the article describes how through different material and aesthetic mediations these banished corpses have been inscribed in the texture of everyday life. These material and aesthetic mediations include the choosing of ánimas of “NN” corpses (unidentified) in Puerto Berrío or the construction of a Park-Monument in Trujillo to keep the remains of corpses that have been identified there.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-580
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Latin American Cultural Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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