Theses Master's

Beyond Linear Transition(s) to Justice: Intra-Urban Displacement and Transmission of Memories in Medellin, Colombia

Fischer, Anna Rahel Eva

This thesis critically interrogates experiences of violence in relation to forced intra-urban displacement and trans-generational transmission of memories in Medellin, Colombia. By situating spatio-temporal violence – slow violence in Rob Nixon’s terms – at the heart of its analysis, this study contrasts the enduring experiences of serial displacement with time-limited and linear transitions to justice. First, the study reveals the discursive, legal and political detachment of intra-urban displacement from regional displacement as enshrined in the current Colombian transitional justice framework. It demonstrates how the lived experience of violence exceeds the temporality of those transitional mechanisms. Second, this work exposes the ongoing nature of serial displacement as historical injuries in the form of inherited memories of violence. The latter mark certain places as areas of no-return and assigns territorial stigma to identities in the city. The absence of a justice framework that can respond to those experiences results in a feeling of non-belonging. The latter limits the exercise of full citizenship in Hannah Arendt’s terms. Third, the emphasis of current transitional justice debates on limited understandings of what constitutes violence, harm, and transition effectively obscures the complex repercussions of violence and the (re-) construction of justice in the everyday by displaced persons in Medellin. Ultimately, to focus on the continuity of the enduring nature of serial displacement and on the political agency of those that experienced serial displacement reveals transformative projects of systemic justice as urgent in present times.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Simpson, Graeme N.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 1, 2017