Accepted Paper:

Imagination, crisis and narratives among Colombian officers: citizenship and history among the military elites  
Ana María Forero Angel (University of los Andes)

Paper short abstract:

Colombia was defined, by Taussig, as a country in a permanent state of exception. In this context the Colombian army elites have been inventing their own tradition defining what Colombia is, defining the meaning of citizenship and national enemy.

Paper long abstract:

In Colombia the National Army fulfils its duty in the fragmented national territory. The existence of alternative sovereignties forces the Official Army to establish alliances with the local powers, weakening its constitutional identity: a military cohesive body in charge of the defence of the citizens. It is to say that the officers, the military elite, invent the tradition, invent the history of the institution in order to maintain the ideal compactness in a context that could be defined as a permanent exception state. The discourses of the Colombian officers, not only permit the survival of the Army but define the characteristics of the nation, the characteristics of the citizens. In their discourses the officers not only establish the mythical origins of the institution, the foundational heroes, the symbolic repertoire; they also define the meaning of Colombia, they define who the Colombian is, and who is the internal enemy. More in detail I will talk about: the foundational myths, the heroes that constitute the epistemological corpus of the Colombian army, the characteristics of the State Nation present in this corpus and the definition of citizenship derived of this 'picture of world' (Wittgenstein, 2003).

Panel W079
Elite groups, crisis and imagination