This article looks at the contradiction between citizenship and violence at two historical junctures in the Colombian department of Antioquia and its capital Medellín. It shows how narratives of a racialized and spatialized regional identity of antioqueñidad drove government interventions aimed at moral and physical improvement during La Violencia (1948–1958). In this period, residents of Antioquia saw themselves in ways that emphasized whiteness, capitalism, hard work, and civilization. In contrast, they saw residents of outlying areas as deviant, lazy, and un-civilizable. The article compares this time with the relationship between recent social programs in Medellín and contemporary paramilitary control of the city. In looking at the interactions of violence and social programs at two moments, the article shows the links between liberal governance projects, citizenship, and violence.
I research economic and environmental anthropology and resource extraction in Colombia and New Brunswick. This is my personal blog.