Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Michael J. Shapiro

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pp. ix-x

Cristina Rojas’s Civilization and Violence defies singular classification. Certainly it is about nineteenth-century Colombia. But the conceptual scope of the study takes its significance well beyond the character and political history of one state during its key nation-building century. The investigation seeks, first, to address an issue that transcends a particular...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Like many scholars born and raised in Colombia, I could not escape the question “Why violence?” I am indebted to all the people who helped me to understand the complexity and multiple dimensions of violence. I benefited from my early encounter with the work of Michael Shapiro, whose thoughts on representation and violence inspired important parts of this book. I thank him and Carrie Mullen for making possible...

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Introduction: Civilization as History

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p. xiii

Norbert Elias’s history of civilization in Western Europe points to one of the major dilemmas for a scholar dedicated to the study of violence and civilization in a Third World country. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, when European nations believed that they had achieved civilization within their own societies, they saw themselves as “bearers of an existing or finished civilization to others, as standard-bearers...

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1. The Will to Civilization

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pp. 1-18

The mid–nineteenth century in Colombia has been commonly characterized as a period of economic liberalism. In this period Colombia opened up to external markets and adopted laissez-faire principles.1 There is a strong tendency among historians of the nineteenth century to take for granted that the incorporation of the country into the world economy was the predominant desire on the part of the local elite.2 The desire...

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2. Civilization and Violence

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pp. 19-46

A significant paradox of Colombian history is the long history of violence and conflict that had been inserted into the democratic process. In the nineteenth century, after the War of Independence in 1810 there were nine civil wars and nearly fifty regional or local conflicts, most frequently in the period from 1863 to 1865. The questions frequently asked...

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3. The Political Economy of Civilization

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pp. 47-64

The history of the development and geographical expansion of capitalism has been told as a story about how things are produced, exchanged, appropriated, and consumed. A concentration on the world of things encourages a mode of reasoning wherein commodities and labor are studied in abstraction from their social context. The discipline of economics assigns itself the task of uncovering and formulating universal laws...

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4. The Subalterns’ Voices

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pp. 65-88

The will to civilization as a regime of representation not only was built in a process of exchange between a backward Latin America and a civilized Europe, but emerged, as well, from the process of exchange between dominating and subaltern voices. Subalterns were not passive recipients of what was said by male creole literati voices. As participants in...

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5. The Will to Civilization and Its Encounter with Laissez-Faire

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pp. 89-116

Scholars have turned to nineteenth-century Latin America in search of answers to the riddles of development. In the nineteenth century, Latin America opened up to external markets and the region adopted laissez-faire principles. This makes it a relatively recent real-world experiment whose results can be used to inform the liberal theory and liberal policies...

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6. Representation, Violence, and the Uneven Development of Capitalism

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pp. 117-162

Throughout this book I have put forward the hypothesis that the relationship between the development of capitalism and violence is better understood if we factor in the formation of meanings that have accompanied the expansion of capitalism, particularly meanings related to differences, identities, civilization, and violence. In preceding chapters I have conducted a critique of a political economy removed from the world...

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Conclusion: Civilizations—Clash or Desire?

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pp. 163-170

These epigraphs illustrate well the main paradox addressed in this book: the relationship between civilization and violence. Sigmund Freud’s statement was a response to Albert Einstein’s question “Why War?” which he formulated at the end of the First World War, and Huntington’s was a proposal for a new paradigm for interpreting the evolution of global...

Notes

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pp. 171-216

Index

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pp. 217-225