The Agrarian Legacies of Latin American Civil Wars in Comparative Perspective

Seminar of the chair Global Destinies of Latin America - Thursday April 5

Seminar Global Destinies of Latin America hosted by Yvon Le Bot, chairholder of the chair Global Destinies of Latin America.

Civil wars leave sharply contrasting legacies for rural communities. Drawing on three case studies – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru – we show how the strategies of armed actors (particularly violence against civilians) shape wartime social processes at the local level. These processes include: political mobilization by various actors, the socialization of combatants into armed organizations, the militarization of local authority, the transformation and polarization of identities, the transformation of local political economies, and the transformation of gender roles.  We then trace the effects of these social processes –  together with state policies and reforms mandated by negotiated accords, where devised and implemented — on postwar agrarian legacies. We extend our discussion to include an initial analysis of agrarian legacies in Colombia, noting the profound and varied effects of wartime processes on agrarian social relations. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications for policy and further research.


Elisabeth Jean Wood is Crosby Professor of the Human Environment and Professor of Political Science, International and Area Studies at Yale University. She is the author of Forging Democracy from Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador and Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador, and co-editor of Understanding and Proving International Sex Crimes and Political Representation.  Among her recent works are “Rape as a Practice of War", “What Should We Mean by ‘Pattern of Violence’?" (with Francisco Gutiérrez Sanín), "Ideology in Civil War: Beyond Instrumental Adaptation" (with Gutiérrez Sanín). She is currently writing two books, one on sexual violence during war and a second on political violence in Colombia (with Gutiérrez Sanín). A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she teaches courses on comparative politics, political violence, collective action, and qualitative research methods.

Elisabeth Wood will also speak at the Violence and exiting violence seminar : Sexual Violence during War: Towards a Typology of Political Violence, on Thursday, April 5 at 5:30pm.


Published at 5 April 2018