Guerrilla insurgency as organized crime: Explaining the so-called "political involution" of the revolutionary armed forces of colombia

  • Hough P
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The escalation of violence committed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas against noncombatant civilians triggered a shift in the theoretical orientation of scholars who study Colombias political economy. While previous explanations emphasized the sociopolitical grievances underlying guerrilla activities, recent explanations emphasize the greed motive, including guerrilla involvement in Colombias illegal narcotics trade. In this article, the author posits an alternative explanation using Charles Tillys theories of state formation to explain FARC activities in Caquetá, Colombia. Drawing from a longitudinal data set that documents the war making, state making, extraction, and protection activities of the FARC between 1975 and 2007, in addition to historical sociological methods, the author finds that increases in FARC repression stem from the growing militarization and paramilitarization of the region, which pressured the FARC to extract resources from the local population in a way that no longer served that populations legitimate protection interests.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Colombia
  • guerrilla insurgency
  • political economy of warfare
  • repression
  • state formation

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  • Phillip A. Hough

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