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"With this past, you'll never become free": A qualitative interview study of female ex-combatants in Colombia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores women's experiences from participation in armed groups, and their subsequent reintegration into civil society within the Colombian context. The study is based on two months of fieldwork, and nine interviews with female ex-combatants from the FARC, the ELN and the AUC currently enrolled in the reintegration process. Most research focus on women in specific armed groups, and tend to portray women in terms of either empowerment or oppression. This thesis criticizes such tendencies, through the exploration of the complex and gendered processes of de/militarization. The study shows that the women's lives have always - before, during and after their participation in armed groups - been marked by insecurity and exposure to violence. Sporadic incidents of direct physical violence were not always found as most distressing, rather daily stressors including factors like poverty and psychological stress, had larger impact on the women. Further, the women experienced liminality, both as members of an armed group and as participants in the reintegration program, which offered both possibilities and hindrances. In the armed groups established power hierarchies were altered and gendered norms were transgressed, at the same time as the women's reproductive rights were severely constrained. In their quest to become a part of civil society, conforming to conventional femininity became a central strategy for hiding their past. However, the burden of being the primary parent posed challenges for the process of reintegrating.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 86 p.
Keyword [en]
gender, DDR, reintegration, female ex-combatants, militarization, Colombia
National Category
Other Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296611OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-296611DiVA: diva2:941367
Available from: 2016-08-10 Created: 2016-06-17 Last updated: 2016-08-10Bibliographically approved

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