The Internally Displaced People of Colombia: Resisting Development Induced Displacement in the Quimbo

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: Colombia is currently the country in the world with the largest displaced population. This dissertation will focus on a certain type of displacement which has yet to receive appropriate attention; displacement caused by development programs, or the so called development-induced displacement. It investigates how a small group of displaced people are affected during the actual process of displacement using an actor oriented perspective. This is the understanding of the individual not only as a victim but, more importantly, as an active agent, in which the individual has the capacity to actively process social experience inventing new ways to cope according to the circumstances. The methodology encompasses field observations on site at “El Quimbo” and a qualitative approach in which ten displaced persons are interviewed using a semi-structural schedule. Amongst the findings this study shows how the people of the Quimbo, through joining a movement resisting the hydroelectric development project, change their position from being victims to instead becoming active agents working for social change. Parallels are drawn to displaced communities around the world where displaced people are seen as active agents in finding new livelihood strategies, new identities, creating social organisations as well as a new meaning to life. Through using the actor oriented approach in a situation of resistance this study can be singled out as an example of how these ideas can come to be used in social research regarding IDPs and their experiences, creating greater understanding of the process but also filling a gap in the literature concerning this matter.

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