From Ex-Combatants to Citizens: Connecting Everyday Citizenship and Social Reintegration in Colombia

Maivel Rodríguez López, Eleni Andreouli, Caroline Howarth
2015 Journal of Social and Political Psychology  
Citizenship can be understood as a form of civic participation and a means of developing social relations with members of the broader community and, therefore, can act as an important means to help reintegrate ex-combatants back into mainstream society. This paper discusses an exploratory research project conducted with a sample of 23 Colombian ex-combatants from non-state armed groups who are current participants of the national programme of reintegration in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. By
more » ... lecting their views and opinions about what it is like to become reintegrated, we explored the range of social factors that facilitate as well as obstruct practices of citizenship in everyday life and, subsequently, the ways in which this affects their overall experience of reintegration into Colombian society. Drawing on social psychological literature on citizenship and on the theory of social representations, we explored how citizenship is understood and enacted by this group as part of their reintegration process. A thematic analysis of three focus groups highlights an enabling as well as a limiting social context that affects former combatants' ability to participate as citizens. This paper also contributes to the social psychology of citizenship by studying the experience of reintegration in conflict-affected societies.
doi:10.5964/jspp.v3i2.388 fatcat:s6klwsoz6vbenh3rvehhcjck3u