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Title: Making Home in War: An Ethnography on Reparations and Horizons in the Eve of Peace in Colombia
Authors: Ramirez, Sebastian
Advisors: Biehl, João
Greenhouse, Carol
Contributors: Anthropology Department
Keywords: Colombia
Internal displacement
Legal anthropology
Political anthropology
Time studies
Urban Housing
Subjects: Latin American studies
Cultural anthropology
Peace studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Colombia endured almost six decades of civil war, and in its wake, more than six million persons were forced out of their homes. This internally displaced population, one of the largest in the world, has sought refuge in national urban centers, in departmental capitals and abroad. This dissertation, based on thirty months of ethnographic fieldwork in the city of Soacha, just south of the country’s capital of Bogotá, chronicles the plights and travails of forced migrants. This dissertation illuminates what shapes lives take in the novel arrangements of state, politics, economics, and communities brought on by efforts to offer aid to victims of the war. My critical work challenges ongoing narratives of forced migrants that emphasize their victimization in terms of political and psychological stagnation. By attending to the multiple temporal frames inhabited by displaced families, to the work of waiting and dwelling on their past, my dissertation elucidates the continuous work of remaking a sense of the quotidian and the possibilities of a future in the face of incalculable loss. Through the vantage of a shelter for displaced persons and the offices of the local government administration, the latter of which was created to provide services to the victim population, this ethnography explores how an assemblage of care around the issue of victimhood is forged. The assemblage of care I investigate extends beyond the bounds of state practice, encompassing projects constructed by determined volunteers, non-governmental organizations, local political parties, and the victims themselves in their efforts to secure livelihoods in their new surroundings. In particular, I expose how apparently superficial and temporary solutions to everyday problems of survival can transform into enduring and official practices of aid. I therefore examine the realignment of responsibilities and expectations around the issue of victimhood, probing the forms of home and citizenship being molded in this transition. My writing foregrounds the ways in which state functions are changed by the interventions of their purported subjects and how practices of evaluation and aid, in their malleability, become the grounds for renewed expectation and agency for so-called victims and those who serve them.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Anthropology

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