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Civil society and peacebuilding in Colombia
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

There is a growing interest in how to build sustainable peace in the world, preventing countries from relapsing into violent conflict. Recognising that there are several important peacebuilding actors, this Master thesis takes its point of departure in local civil society actors as a peacebuilding force. For this interpretative qualitative study, Colombia is used as the case of investigation. This is as a result of a renewed interest in the country due to the peace negotiations that were initiated between the Colombian government and the largest guerrilla group in the country, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in October 2012. Interviews with diverse civil society actors in Colombia were used as primary data, and in addition literary reviews of primary and secondary information have been added to the material.

There are diverging views of what peacebuilding means, and one of the research objectives of this thesis is to draw from previous research to build a general framework for what peacebuilding wants to achieve, i.e., identify the international peacebuilding objectives. The second research objective is to compare the seven activities and functions of civil society in peacebuilding, as described by Paffenholz and Spurk in the Comprehensive framework for the analysis of civil society in peacebuilding, to see how the work of civil society in Colombia compares to the international peacebuilding objectives.

The research shows that all seven activities and functions of civil society in peacebuilding: protection, monitoring, advocacy and public communication, in-group socialisation, social cohesion, facilitation/mediation, and service delivery, are performed by the interviewed civil society actors. When the activities and functions are compared to the international peacebuilding objectives, the research demonstrates that the peacebuilding activities carried out by civil society adds to the efforts performed by other actors to achieve stability and security, restore political and judicial institutions, address socio-economic dimensions and transform relations. Acknowledging the particular regional dynamics of the Colombian internal armed conflict and recognising the need for local ownership for peacebuilding to be successful, the conclusion drawn is that peacebuilding in Colombia has to be attained at the local, regional as well as national level. The polarisation and distrust between civil society and the state hinders a joint effort to build peace in Colombia, which further complicates the prospects for attaining sustainable peace in the country. Based on the understanding gained from the conducted research, this thesis affirms that peacebuilding must be adapted to the local realities and requires active participation from both government and civil society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 58 p.
Keyword [en]
Colombia, peace, peacebuilding, civil society
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-30084OAI: diva2:661142
Subject / course
Peace and development
Educational program
Peace and Development Work, Master Programme, 60 credits
Available from: 2013-11-04 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2013-11-04Bibliographically approved

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