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Systems of Violence, Second Edition

The Political Economy of War and Peace in Colombia

Nazih Richani

Publication Year: 2013

Expanded new edition of an important study of the protracted violence in Colombia.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

In February 2012, exactly one decade after the last round of dialogues between representatives of the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP) ended in Caguán, secret exploratory talks between the parties began in Cuba. In late August, the parties signed a framework agreement for the renewal of peace talks. ...

Notes to the Second Edition

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pp. xvii-xx

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pp. xxi-xxii

What brought the idea of this revised edition about was a coincidence. I was strolling between the stands of the Book Exhibition at the American Political Science Association when I came across the SUNY Press exhibit and press editor Dr. Michael Rinella. ...

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Chapter 1: The Contours and the Theory

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pp. 1-10

Colombia is the third most populous country in Latin America aft er Brazil and Mexico, and as of 2012 is fourth in size in gross domestic production after Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. It was among the very few countries in the region with almost uninterrupted positive economic growth since the mid-1940s. ...

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Chapter 2: Institutional Failure: Genesis of the War System

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pp. 11-34

Theories of state and revolution as Negri1 contends must assume that war is normal as long as class and other cleavages cannot be negotiated by peaceful means. Colombia’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century history is a case in point, where historical continuities and discontinuities can be seen in the several waves of civil wars that have engulfed the country. ...

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Chapter 3: The Military and the Comfortable Impasse

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pp. 35-56

This chapter introduces the military as one of the organizations that helped in creating and perpetuating the war system. It addresses three main questions: (1) why did the military choose a containment strategy instead of one designed to eliminate the guerrillas; ...

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Chapter 4: Guerillas and the Impasse

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pp. 57-88

This chapter is grounded on my interviews with guerrilla leaders and informants as well as on a host of other primary and secondary sources. The interviews, which were conducted in 1997 and 1998, sought to gather information about the social composition of the guerrillas as well as their current political goals. ...

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Chapter 5: Paramilitaries, Organized Crime, and the Dynamics of War

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pp. 89-128

This chapter’s main argument is that one of the principal outcomes of the comfortable impasse between the state and the guerrillas was the accelerated development of more than 110,000 hectares of illicit drug plantations in less than a decade, bringing into the war system new destabilizing, yet consolidating, actors: ...

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Chapter 6: The Dominant Classes and the Prospects of Peace

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pp. 129-152

Chapter 5 discussed the new dynamics of the war system the emergence of organized crime and paramilitary groups precipitated. The chapter’s last section also demonstrates the main indicators of this new dynamic, namely, the sharp increase in the state’s defense expenditures, the increasing guerrilla and paramilitary costs (human and material), ...

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Chapter 7: Colombia’s Civil War in Comparative Perspective

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pp. 153-166

In comparative analysis, the method of agreement and difference is employed by identifying similarities in the dependent variables associated with a common outcome, such as a war system, and by identifying the independent variables that produce different outcomes: in other words, political and criminal violence that do not lead to war systems. ...

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Chapter 8: Third Parties, War Systems’ Inertia, and Conflict Termination: The Doomed Peace Process in Colombia, 1998–2002

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pp. 167-190

Why some civil wars are difficult to terminate has become a major puzzle for those seeking to understand and resolve violent conflict. The average duration of civil wars increased in the post–cold war period to 15.1 years from a median duration of 5.5 years in 1999.1 ...

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Chapter 9: The War System: From Comfortable Impasse to Unstable Equilibrium, 2000–2012

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pp. 191-222

This chapter contextualizes the war-system theory within the growing literature on conflict duration since the first edition of this book published in 2002. It sheds new light on core shortcomings hindering econometric studies. The first section presents a brief synthesis of the rational—choice literature and the war—system theory that this book has adopted as its framework. ...

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Chapter 10: Bastard Rentier Capitalism: The Political Economy of Organized Crime in Colombia Sicarios and Caudillos

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pp. 223-232

Private armies and militias have existed in Colombia for most of its twentieth century history, and into the time of this writing in 2012. However, from the so-called pajaros of the 1950s, who were assassins hired to carry out military operations at the behest of the large landowners and the army, to currently active groups such as Urabeños, Rastrojos, and Paisas, ...

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Chapter 11: Colombia’s War System in Comparative Perspective

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pp. 233-248

Colombia’s war system proved to be more resilient than most of the civil wars witnessed in the second half of the twentieth century. The Colombian civil war has completed its forty-nineth year, making it the longest enduring conflict in the world today only after Burma, which dates its conflict to 1948. ...

Appendix: Selection of the Interview Population

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pp. 249-250


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pp. 251-252


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pp. 253-316


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pp. 317-336


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pp. 337-346

SUNY series in Global Politics, List of Titles

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pp. 347-348

Back Cover

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p. 372-372

E-ISBN-13: 9781438446950
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438446936

Page Count: 370
Publication Year: 2013