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Accepted Paper:

Peasant State (Trans-)Formation in Colombian Conflict Regions  
Philipp Naucke (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

Paper short abstract:

This paper describes how a peasant community shapes state (trans)formation processes in a Colombian conflict region through diverse encounters with different state institutions, contesting assumptions about state absence in these regions and state resentment among resistant peasants.

Paper long abstract:

This paper draws on an ethnographic case study to address how peasants in conflict regions influence, enforce, and negotiate state formation processes. In doing so, I revisit and contest three more or less implicit theoretical assumptions about peasants, state formation, and statehood in conflict regions: first, that the state is absent in conflict regions; second, that state formation processes are primarily influenced by powerful elites; and third, that resistant peasants are generally against the state. In the Colombian context, all three assumptions are projected onto the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, where I have repeatedly conducted field research since 2006: the Peace Community is supposedly located in an area without state presence, has apparently no interest in state programs and projects, and is even hostile to the state. In this paper, I propose a different interpretation: Based on a broad conception of the state, I understand the Peace Community as part of the state, which - contrary to some state action of regional institutions - is committed to the realization of rule-of-law principles. Through various encounters with different state institutions, which I understand with Pratt as a 'contact zone', the Peace Community takes part in a permanent process of negotiation, which has as its subject the prevailing forms of statehood and legitimacy in this conflict region.

Panel P067b
Grassroots states: Transformations of statecraft II
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -