Political transnationalism, gender and peace buliding among Colombian migrants in the UK and Spain.
The international migration of Colombians has received little attention, either at academic or policy levels. This research explores Colombian migration to Spain and the UK. Its main aim is to study the transnational political activities of Colombian migrants, in the context of the armed conflict and search for peace in Colombia, by taking a gendered perspective. The theoretical and conceptual frameworks draw from several research areas, mainly work on diasporas and transnational migration, and studies of armed conflict and peace. Given that these fields of study are rarely combined, this thesis provides an innovative conceptual approach. The current research is based on qualitative fieldwork conducted in the UK and Spain between 2005 and 2007, and comprising almost 100 interviews and participant observation. The main empirical finding is that Colombian migrants are an integral part of the political context in the home country, despite the emphasis by other studies on the polarisation, fragmentation and apolitical nature of the diaspora. Conceptually, this thesis argues for the need to de-construct political transnationalism, to account for: activities emerging from 'above' and 'below', 'individual' and 'collective' participation in formal and informal politics; and the connections between political participation in the countries of origin and settlement. Also, it shows that migrants' transnational politics varies according to gender, as well as other factors, mainly type of migration and social class. More importantly, the transnational political activities of Colombians abroad relate directly/indirectly to the armed conflict and search for peace in Colombia. Future research and policy-making should take into account the potential of this for civil society peace-building efforts, especially seeking to promote a gendered perspective.
AuthorsTorres, Anastasia Bermudez
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