Geographies of Power, Subjectivity and Belonging: Campesino Land Claims in Inzá, Cauca, Colombia

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Hamilton, Sarah-Jane Susan McAuley




This project investigates how collective rights to land are rooted in blood and soil, and with what repercussions. In 1991, Colombia adopted policies of multiculturalism to codify rights for collective political subjects. Struggling against acute dispossession, social movements are using multiculturalism's openings in a bid to claim land. I argue that multiculturalism in Colombia spatializes and ethnicizes rights possibilities, particularly rights to land. The state privileges land claims by ethnicized political identity groups able to demonstrate an autochthonous presence in specific,
delimited territories. Drawing primarily on semi-structured interviews with leaders of the Campesino Association of Inzá, Tierradentro (ACIT), I explore how the state simultaneously forecloses land claims by much of the subaltern population, while re-legitimizing its authority through a seemingly progressive agenda of rights protection. I also consider how recognition based on autochthony risks naturalizing divisions between similarly marginalized groups, and complements the oppressions and exclusions fostered by neoliberal globalization.


Ethnic and Racial Studies




Carleton University

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Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Economy

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Theses and Dissertations

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