Manuela Nilsson with police officers in Colombia

Project: Searching for sustainable peace: challenges and opportunities for cooperation between military and civilian actors in Colombia

This project focuses on efforts to improve the often damaged relationship between state security actors (the military and police forces) and civilians in countries emerging from violent and protracted social conflict. The case study for the inquiry is Colombia.

Project information

Project manager
Manuela Nilsson
Other project members
Pedro Valenzuela, Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University; Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Timetable
1 Jan 2017-31 Dec 2018
Subject
Peace and Development Studies (Department of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences)

More about the project

This project is part of a larger research project on peace building amidst violence. It focuses on efforts to improve the often damaged relationship between state security actors (the military and police forces) and civilians in countries emerging from violent and protracted social conflict. The case study for the inquiry is Colombia, a country who just ended a long civil war and still experiences high levels of violence.

Colombia's search for peace to end a protracted social conflict that has mired the country in violence for decades has recently reached a climax with the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the country's largest armed opposition group, the FARC. How security issues are addressed from here on will greatly affect Colombia's future development.

This project addresses the challenge of building peace in societies broken by prolonged conflict periods where levels of violence continue to be high. Continued violence requires an ever-closer cooperation between military and civilian actors. This cooperation is of particular importance at the local level where all peacebuilding activities ultimately need to take root.

However, we know surprisingly little about how cooperation between civilians and national military actors works in the local context. The objective is to identify the challenges as well as the potential for civil-military collaboration that can help national actors move towards sustainable peace, using Colombia as a case study.

The project looks particularly at how national military and civilian actors perceive their own and the other's role in peacebuilding, the choice of particular actors and the activities that characterize civil-military cooperation at the local level. Methodologically the project is based on in-depth interviews with civilian and military actors collected during several field trips in three selected local communities in Colombia in the regions Meta, Cauca and Bolívar, as well as on the analysis of policy documents and academic texts. This topic is of high relevance for a number of countries with violent post-conflict environments around the world.