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Sociology Colloquium, 2/15/2023

Violence Against Social Activism and the Rise of Criminal Politicians in Colombia

Dr. Camilo Nieto-Matiz, University of Texas at San AntonioCamilo Nieto-Matiz

In civil conflicts, violence is instrumentally used to govern populations, sanction certain behaviors, and preserve the status quo. Can selective assassinations affect the quality of democracy in the long term? This paper argues that violence against social and political activism facilitates the rise of criminal politicians in the long run by destroying local communities’ organizational capital and ability to form a political opposition. By focusing on the cycle of mobilization and subsequent violence during 1980’s Colombia, I find that towns exposed to higher levels of violence against political activists and social leaders in the eighties were more likely to witness the rise of politicians allied with paramilitary groups in the 2000s. In exploring the effects of violence on affected communities, I find that municipalities with higher levels of selective violence experienced less social protest and higher displacement of the population prior to the 2000s. This paper stresses the critical role of social leaders for democracy and underscores selective assassinations as a contributing factor in the entry of low-quality politicians.

February 15, 2023
Wednesday, 12:00pm
Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 965 0834 1773
Passcode: 517823

If you cannot join with video, you can connect to the Zoom session via phone: 1–346–248–7799