Research Repository

The Multiple Constructions of Gender in the Wake of Armed Struggle: An Intersectional Study of Ex-combatants in Colombia

Thylin, Anna Theresia (2022) The Multiple Constructions of Gender in the Wake of Armed Struggle: An Intersectional Study of Ex-combatants in Colombia. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

Theresia Thylin PhD Thesis FINAL.pdf

Download (2MB) | Preview


The constructions of gender are not static, but processes of constant transformation that manifest large variations, especially in conflict-affected settings. Former combatants often experience particularly significant and rapid changes in gender roles, practices, and identities, not only within armed groups but also after demobilization. Gender is transformed in several, often contradictory and complex, ways as men, women and sexual and gender minorities assume both traditional and non-traditional gender roles during and after armed struggle. As the reconstruction of militarized gender identities has started to be considered an integral part of reintegration programmes, there is a growing interest among scholars and practitioners to understand how these transformations take place. This research explores how gender is constructed through a comparative study of ex-combatants from three different armed groups in Colombia: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); the 19th of April Movement (M-19); and the United Self-Defenders of Colombia (AUC). It draws on 55 interviews with ex-combatants of different genders and sexual orientations using a gender and intersectional approach. This research demonstrates that there is large variation and multiple ways in which gender is constructed and formulates four different pathways of constructions of gender among ex-combatants: through advancing gender equality; (re)constructing traditional gender roles; maintaining militarized gender constructions; and finally, an analysis of gender constructions among sexual and gender minorities. I show that leaving war may generate opportunities for particularly significant transformations for LGBT ex-combatants. I also explore the extent to which ex-combatants exert agency across these varied pathways, as well as the impact of gender constructions on the long-term possibilities of reintegration and constructions of more gender-equitable societies. I conclude that reintegration programmes should incorporate a gender and intersectional perspective that builds on the understanding of these multiple pathways of constructions of gender among ex-combatants.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: DDR, Reintegration, Gender, LGBT, Colombia
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Anna Thylin
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2022 16:19
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2022 16:19

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item