Contested identities: Gender, reproduction, and war in Colombia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter analyzes how, in San Miguel, Colombia, narratives about people born as a result of paramilitary sexual violence have emerged in the tensions between local frameworks for understanding gender and reproduction, and frameworks for understanding violence against women. Within the system of local biologies that grants social meaning to the bodies of people born of paramilitary sexual violence in San Miguel, the indication that their identity was defined by the historic, political, and cultural presence of their fathers in the community—represented in the label of paraquitos—has shifted to reveal that meaning, in this case, is transmitted by both mother and father. In this system of meaning, what has been transmitted from fathers—paramilitaries from other parts of the country—and mothers—local women—to shape these people’s identity unveils gendered politics of reproduction that seek to exert control over women’s identities and bodies through the use of weapons and fear. The symbolic weight of the absence of the father converges with the positionality of the mother within the patriarchal social order of the political community to produce—through sexual reproduction—a marginal and ahistorical subject. The author illustrates how that these children and young women and men in San Miguel may be born of war, yet it is the combination of that violence with the violence of patriarchy and capital in their concrete rural and ethnic context that has shaped their identity, positionality, and possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenging Conceptions
Subtitle of host publicationChildren Born of Wartime Rape and Sexual Exploitation
EditorsKimberly Theidon, Dyan Mazurana, Dipali Anumol
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780197648346
ISBN (Print)9780197648315
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • reproductive violence
  • gender
  • war
  • children born of war
  • identity
  • Colombia
  • paramilitaries


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