Diana Isabel Güiza-Gómez is pursuing a joint Ph.D. in Political Science and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and affiliated to the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Violence and Transitional Justice Lab. Her research agenda relies on the political economy of peacebuilding in contemporary Colombian history and on the interplay of constitution- making, political inclusion, and peacebuilding. Isabel is a lawyer and holds an LLM. Previously, she was a researcher at the Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia) and a lecturer at Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Campesinos (peasants) Count! Campesino Movements and the Politics of Recognition and Redistribution in Colombia
Throughout the twentieth century, campesinos (peasants) movements in Colombia vigorously carried out an ambitious redistributive agenda. After being violently persecuted, campesino movements were decimated and fragmented into regional clusters, thus weaken ing nation-wide platforms wherein rural redistributive claims were staged. During the last two decades, the country observed the resurgence of national-level campesino movements in a critical period marked by key political and economic processes, including the 1991 multiculturalist constitutional framework, the global land and resource rush, and the escalation and de-escalation of the internal armed conflict, as well as state- and society-led peacebuilding. In contrast to the formerly prevalent agenda, conventional redistributive claims have been coupled with recognition and parity of participation demands.
In this paper, we question how and why campesino activists and movements rearticulated a quintessential class ascription in a collective identity enmeshed in structural, interpersonal, and individual dimensions that, in turn, are informed by historical, spacial, and political dynamics. We argue that, in lieu of replacing traditional redistributive struggles, such newly reframed campesino identity has shaped an overarching agenda, which is deeply rooted in social disregard for campesino subjectivity as being inferior, deficient, or lawless, as well as in land dispossession triggered by civil war and capitalist venues. In doing so, we study how the nexus between struggles for recognition, parity of participation, and redistribution poses possibilities and limitations for campesino movements by unveiling original strategies to achieve political outcomes, albeit running the risk of reducing the peasantry to an idiosyncratic cultural entity.
Affiliation: University of Notre Dame, USA