Doing Gender in the Midst of War: The Example of the Demobilization Process of Paramilitaries in Medellín, Colombia 2003-2007


Echavarría Alvarez, Josefina. 2009. “Doing Gender in the Midst of War: The Example of the Demobilization Process of Paramilitaries in Medellín, Colombia 2003-2007.” Peace Studies Journal 2 (2): 51-75.

Author: Josefina Echavarría Alvarez


This article examines how the demobilization process of former paramilitary groups in the Colombian city of Medellín does gender by representing the ‘traditional nuclear family’ as the marker of pacification for former male combatants. By reading the Democratic Security Policy, it makes visible the ways in which the state project of security aims at fixing the moral boundaries of the identity category of nationals. It looks at the security practice of demobilization, individual as well as collective ones, and interrogates how it informs and shapes traditional notions of family. Finally, this article highlights the functions and effects that the invisibility of gender plays in the legitimation of the state project of security and questions the violence embedded in sanctioned gender relationships.

Keywords: security, identity, gender, war on terror, demobilization

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Men, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries, Security, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2009

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