Participation as Confrontation: Resistance Within and Outside the Mesas de Participación Established for IDPs in Colombia

Karen Schouw Iversen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article discusses resistance related to the mesas de participación—invited participatory spaces established for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia. While the existing literature on participation has shown that such spaces can enhance stability and delegitimize dissent, this article foregrounds these spaces’ political ambivalence, pointing to the resistance they facilitate. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Bogotá between October 2017 and August 2018, the article argues that the mesas have paved the way for two kinds of resistance. First, they have engendered resistance around the meaning of participation itself. Second, IDPs have utilized opportunities conferred by the mesas to strengthen ‘confrontational collective action’ in the form of occupations and protests outside of these government-sponsored spaces. By highlighting the connections that exist between resistance happening within and outside institutional spaces, the article contributes both to a growing body of literature that has emphasized the agency of IDPs in Colombia and, more broadly, to the literature on forced migrants’ participation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfeac010
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • internal displacement
  • participation
  • Colombia
  • resistance

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