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Born of war in Colombia: Narratives of unintelligibility, contested identities, and the memories of absence

Sanchez Parra, T (2018) Born of war in Colombia: Narratives of unintelligibility, contested identities, and the memories of absence. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis addresses the production and reproduction of narratives about people born as a result of war-related sexual violence in Colombia. I focus on the social processes through which these individuals have become part of the realities of the armed conflict that are apprehended by the Colombian government, human rights organisations and transitional justice agencies, the media, and the communities. My project draws on ethnographic content analysis of media, legal documents, and ethnographic research conducted between December 2015 and June 2016 in a rural Afro-descendent community in Colombia that was occupied by paramilitaries for approximately five years. Paramilitaries systematically used sexual violence against women and girls and, because of those abuses, children were born and later single out by members of the community as paraquitos, “little paramilitaries”. I conclude that people born as a result of war-related sexual violence have not emerged as subjects within the realities of the armed conflict that are apprehended by the discourse of transitional justice and human rights. Although information about them has circulated, it has done so within the framework for understanding wartime sexual violence. As a collective subject, they have gained a place in the imaginary of human rights organisations through naming practices that assume they are defined by the violence that conceived them. At the local level these children’s identities are dynamic and their experiences are connected to the experiences of their mothers within their cultural and moral system. For the community, these people do not belong to the collective narratives of the violence of the past. Their absence needs to be understood in relation to gendered notions of identity and reproduction that have denied women’s experiences of the armed conflict, while imposing motherhood. Although the life of people born of war starts as war-affected children, as they grow older their identities and opportunities are under constant negotiation that embody different forms of gender, economic, and social violence and resistance that challenge static notions of victimhood.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transitional justice, Sociology of violence, Children born of war, War-time gender-based violence, Colombia
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Tatiana Sanchez Parra
Date Deposited: 15 May 2018 10:44
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 10:44
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22013

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