First Advisor

Michele R. Gamburd

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology






Social conflict -- Colombia, Forced migration -- Colombia, Refugees -- Colombia -- Bogotá -- Social conditions, Political violence -- Colombia



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 138 p.) : col. ill., col. maps


The majority of the estimated four million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia who have fled from their lands and homes have migrated to urban centers. This study, performed in Bogotá, Colombia between April and September 2009, examines how IDPs cope with living in a new, urban environment after violent displacement. I held interviews with IDPs, the non-displaced public, and government workers; performed participant-observation in government offices and neighborhoods; and examined archival material. The work examines cultural anthropological topics of violence, migration, and resistance. A discussion of state and structural violence reveals the current hardships many rural Colombians face. Analysis shows that symbolic violence manifests itself through 'othering' narratives and practices, which affect how IDPs resettle in Bogotá. The research demonstrates how IDPs' practices challenge state bureaucracy and government workers and refute the non-displaced public's stereotypes. IDPs agency both reproduces and transforms social structures in the city of Bogotá. I discuss how collective IDP agency leads to actions of resistance through public marches and takeovers. This research contributes to the field of anthropology by highlighting relations between power structures and individuals, examining how IDPs experience and resist symbolic violence, and demonstrating how IDPs create new identities in situations of forced migration.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Anthropology

Persistent Identifier