Emotional Legacies of War Among Former Colombian Paramilitaries
Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology Vol. 18(4): pp. 369-383, 2012
15 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2012
Date Written: November 19, 2012
Drawing on 62 interviews with former members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia), a right-wing paramilitary umbrella organization that fought against guerrilla groups and was involved in drug trafficking, I develop a model of the emotional legacies of war. The proposed model is critical to the understanding of ex-combatants' behavior in the context of postwar disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. This study connects three related elements: ex-combatants' recollection of their initial reason for joining the war and their war experiences, their present perception of those reasons and experiences, and an emotional legacy tied to their perceptions. I have designated the emotional residue that emerges from the remembered past, including regret, pride, resentment, nostalgia, and tiredness of being at war, an emotional legacy. These emotional legacies connect ex-combatants' perception of their past with the present.
Keywords: ex-combatants, Colombia, emotional legacies, peacebuilding, grounded theory
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