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Absent Peace in Colombia: A Study of Transition Discourses in Former Combatants

Juan Carlos Arboleda-Ariza ORCID logo, Gabriel Prosser Bravo ORCID logo and Fredy Mora-Gámez ORCID logo

Abstract

The Colombian State and subversive groups have made attempts to build peace by the establishment of accords since the 1980s. Recently, the signature of a peace accord by former president Santos and the FARC-EP leadership in 2016, has come along with changes in the interpretative frameworks of the conflict and the emergence of new institutions, forms of subjectivity and collective meanings around peace. Nowadays, Colombia is in the transition from being a country at war to a peaceful nation. In this transition, the discourse of victims and state representatives about peace and conflict are predominant in the literature. This article characterizes the simultaneously coexisting discourses about peace and conflict in former combatants. We conducted a discourse analysis of 19 semi-structured interviews with former members of paramilitaries and guerrillas. The results are clustered into two categories: absent peace, in which peace is seen as the lack of something that was missed and lost; and the indefinite war, where peace can be hardly imagined due to the permanence of conflict and longevity of violence. The overlooked angle of the narratives of combatants about peace and conflict is discussed, and the findings are suggested as potential guidelines to navigate displaced and divergent accounts of peace and conflict in transition societies.


Corresponding author: Juan Carlos Arboleda-Ariza, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, Programa de Psicología de la Universidad Surcolombiana, Neiva, Colombia, E-mail:

Funding source: Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica

Award Identifier / Grant number: FONDECYT Postdoctorate 2017 project N ° 3170814

  1. Research funding: Research funded by CONICYT-FONDECYT Postdoctorate 2017 project N° 3170814, at the Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FACSO) University of Chile.

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Received: 2019-09-18
Accepted: 2020-05-08
Published Online: 2020-08-07

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