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Violence, anti-press violence and reporting alternative social (dis)order. Journalism, neo-paramilitarism and citizenship in Colombia’s “After War”.

Charles, Mathew 2017. Violence, anti-press violence and reporting alternative social (dis)order. Journalism, neo-paramilitarism and citizenship in Colombia’s “After War”. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis presents the result of an ethnographic study drawing upon participant observation and life history interviews. The research was conducted in a region of Colombia referred to as the Llano Verde with several periods of extended fieldwork between 2013 and 2016. This research offers a “thick description” (Geertz 1973) of the “non-formal” (Nordstrom 2004) networks of murder, extortion and drug trafficking in “the spaces of death” (Taussig 1984) at the margins of Colombian society. The study develops the work of Maria Clemencía Ramírez (2010) to document the alternative social (dis)order of Colombia’s “after war”, defined in part by the persistent and relentless nature of “privatised” and “democratised” (Koonings and Kruit 1999, 2004; Kaldor 2012; Defort 2013) violence. It also portrays the region’s “divergent news ecology”, which emerges in this (dis)order through the stories of five individual journalists living and working there. These reporters constitute a “distinct epistemic community “ (Waisbord 2013, p. 199) founded on fear, defiance and resistance. This research deconstructs and problematises four oversimplified dichotomies in journalism studies scholarship: (1) amateur/professional; (2) legacy/alternative; (3) war/peace; and (4) victim/perpetrator. It concludes that individuals who engage in sustained acts of violence or journalistic practice are both exerting their “insurgent” citizenship (Holston 2008), which either “confirms” or “disconfirms” (Haugaard 2003) the socially, culturally and symbolically violent structures (Galtung 1964, 1990), which underpin this alternative social (dis)order. Journalism, it is argued, is a vehicle to resist against or overhaul these dominant structures. Building on the works of Stuart Allan (2013) and Clemencia Rodríguez (2011), it is argued that journalism embodies a committed act of witness-resistance. Through a process of commitment, based on an interpretation of the philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre, this involves the communitarian desire to better society through a peace-oriented practice, but also incorporates a direct individual assertion of one’s own place in the world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 December 2018
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2018 15:46

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