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Citizens’ Media against Armed Conflict

Disrupting Violence in Colombia

Clemencia Rodríguez

Publication Year: 2011

For two years, Clemencia Rodríguez did fieldwork in regions of Colombia where leftist guerillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, the army, and drug traffickers made their presence felt in the lives of unarmed civilians. Here, Rodríguez tells the story of the ways in which people living in the shadow of these armed intruders use community radio, television, video, digital photography, and the Internet to shield their communities from armed violence’s negative impacts.

Citizens’ media are most effective, Rodríguez posits, when they understand communication as performance rather than simply as persuasion or the transmission of information. Grassroots media that are deeply embedded in the communities they serve and responsive to local needs strengthen the ability of community members to productively react to violent incursions. Rodríguez demonstrates how citizens’ media privilege aspects of community life not hijacked by violence, providing people with the tools and the platform to forge lives for themselves and their families that are not entirely colonized by armed conflict and its effects.

Ultimately, Rodríguez shows that unarmed civilian communities that have been cornered by armed conflict can use community media to repair torn social fabrics, reconstruct eroded bonds, reclaim public spaces, resolve conflict, and sow the seeds of peace and stability.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press


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pp. 1-9


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pp. ix-x

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Life at the Crossfire: An Introduction to Colombia’s Violence and Its Context

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pp. 1-36

Armed guerrillas, paramilitaries, and other groups storm and terrorize small towns isolated by Colombia’s impossible geography with a frequency that has granted a perverse everyday-life feeling to such violence over the course of the country’s forty-year armed conflict. The scene is well known in Colombia. ...

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1. Drugs, Violence, and the Media of the People in the Colombian Amazon

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pp. 37-84

It is June 1976. I am sixteen years old and a school friend invites me to come along on her family’s holiday trip to Caquetá, in southern Colombia. On a warm afternoon, visiting the municipality of Montañita, we walk along a wide pasture, behind a guy who’s showing us around. ...

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2. Nation Building, One Voice at a Time: Citizens’ Communication in Montes de María

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pp. 85-132

As my plane descends from the Andean city of Bogotá (the capital of Colombia) I can see the geography change below me. The steep mountains and narrow canyons become the vast savannas of the Colombian Caribbean. I am flying to Cartagena, and from there I will travel to the region known as Montes de María.1 ...

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3. Radio, Resistance, and War in Magdalena Medio

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pp. 133-180

I seek shelter from the sun under the yellow umbrella of an orange juice vendor in Cerro Burgos, a small river port in Magdalena Medio. It is late 2005, and I wait for a chalupa (small passenger motor boat) to take me to Gamarra, where I am about to start my return to Bogotá. ...

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4. Media Pioneers Respond to Armed Conflict

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pp. 181-230

Every morning in Bogotá after sending my daughter to school, I take a taxi through the crowded streets. I ask the driver to take La Circunvalar, a narrow avenue that, perched on the city’s eastern Andean mountains, circumnavigates the worst traffic with a series of brutal curves. ...

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5. The Doing Is Everything! Toward a Theory of Citizens’ Media in Contexts of War

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pp. 231-266

In October of 2008 I was invited to present my work at a seminar on media and violence in Hermosillo, Sonora, a northern Mexican state on the border with the United States. I still cringe at the memory of what I witnessed on the second day of the seminar, when a human rights expert led a workshop among local reporters and media producers. ...

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pp. 267-270

First and foremost, so many thanks to all the citizens’ media pioneers for allowing me into their lives, their communities, and their media initiatives. In Montes de María, Soraya Bayuelo Castellar, Beatriz Ochoa, Modesta Muñoz, la Chichi, Wilgen Peñaloza, and Leonarda de la Ossa ...


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pp. 271-274


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pp. 275-290


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pp. 291-310


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pp. 311-328

E-ISBN-13: 9780816678389
E-ISBN-10: 0816678383
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816665846

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2011