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Living through chronic violence in Medellín, Colombia

Lorenzo Mauloni

Living through chronic violence in Medellín, Colombia.

Rel. Marco Santangelo, Fabio Armao. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale, 2019

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The nationalism turn provoked by the Enlightenment allowed the shift of the limitless authority of religious institutions to geographically defined space. During the construction of these national imagined communities (Anderson 1983), alternative forms of loyalties were also rising and posing a challenge to the future national institutions. In Colombia, since the beginning of the state-making process, several civilian wars limited the formation of a cohesive civil society that recognized itself under a common law, in fact the centralized state failed in representing and solving many of the regional conflicts where often state itself was the main threat. In order to respond to many injustices peasants organized themselves in guerrilla movements and started moving offensives against those discussing their land rights. The elites, as consequences, financed self-defence groups to protect themselves that will later organize in the United Self-Defence of Colombia (AUC) also known as paramilitaries. Alongside the escalation of violence in the countryside, similar dynamics were afflicting cities where local gangs controlled important portions of the territory. In Medellín the rising violence resized state sovereignty especially when the drug-cartel was created and the underworld had the total control in the city. State inefficiency in assuring livelihood to the lower classes, made the population vulnerable to the offers of the violence agencies that proving employment and building houses secured their presence, mostly in the peripheries; in some cases they even became new political referee. The contrast between these two worlds became visible in the structure, with criminal bands controlling the poor informal settlements in the mountains and the wealthier classes living in the planned centre hardly protected by state forces. Many were the attempts to limit informality growth and criminality diffusion but the rising immigration in the city and people’s faith in non-state groups, just led to the loss of trust in institutions. In the 90s, the national political conflict and the local battles will meet when guerrilla groups and paramilitaries reach Medellín and establish their urban cells. In the fight against the communist threat, state forces had no choices that allying with non-state armed groups and during these military interventions, many were the civilian losing their lives. Since then, although the reduction of violence and the municipal attempts in recovering the lost civil society, the underworld is still having its influence in the city, negotiating its presence and activities with state forces to assure everyone existence. However, years of urban wars, state abuses and generalized criminality have created a city where fear and seek for security spatialized in the different urban forms and particularly in the use people make of space itself. By mapping the different physical, social and political dynamics, this research tries to define the current atmospheres of Medellín, using Sloterdijk Sphereology for the interpretation of the city-foams.

Relators: Marco Santangelo, Fabio Armao
Academic year: 2019/20
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 99
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-48 - REGIONAL, URBAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/13387
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