My research is funded by the ESRC and focuses on Colombia and the process of reincorporation for ex-combatants of the FARC-EP guerrilla group following the signing of the 2016 peace agreement. In particular, I am interested in transformations and how the construction of identities impacts and is influenced by their reintegration process.
Signing the 2016 peace agreement with the Colombian State marked the start of a new chapter for the former guerrilla group, the FARC-EP. An important aspect has been the reincorporation process, innovative for its collective emphasis on reintegration within a broader framework of societal transformation and reform. Existing literature tends to focus on either the political or the economic and social aspects of reintegration, often as an individualised process constructed by DDR frameworks. Through the lens of identities, I argue for a shift in analysis and approach to reintegration, characterised by a more holistic understanding of it as a relational and long-term process. Drawing on time spent with FARC-EP ex-combatants and semi-structured interviews undertaken in 2019, I expose the fuzzy boundaries between individuals, communities and their identities, and the challenges created by a compartmentalised approach to reintegration. I conclude that collective success is inextricably linked to reconciling these compartments and putting relational aspects at the centre of these complex transitions. The individuals involved and ‘calidad humana’ of leaders help new stories to be told that redefine how we relate to each other, where we belong and how we see the ‘other’ and ourselves.