Systems of Violence, Second Edition

The Political Economy of War and Peace in Colombia

By Nazih F. Richani

Subjects: Political Economy, Latin American Studies, Conflict Resolution, Political Science, History
Series: SUNY series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9781438446943, 370 pages, January 2014
Hardcover : 9781438446936, 370 pages, June 2013

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Notes to Second Edition
1. The Contours and the Theory
2. Institutional Failure: Genesis of the War System
3. The Military and the Comfortable Impasse
4. Guerillas and the Impasse
5. Paramilitaries, Organized Crime, and the Dynamics of War
6. The Dominant Classes and the Prospects of Peace
7. Colombia’s Civil War in Comparative Perspective
8. Third Parties, War Systems’ Inertia, and Conflict Termination: The Doomed Peace Process in Colombia, 1998–2002
9. The War System: From Comfortable Impasse to Unstable Equilibrium, 2002–2012
10. Bastard Rentier Capitalism: The Political Economy of Organized Crime in Colombia Sicarios and Caudillos
11. Colombia’s War System in Comparative Perspective
Appendix: Selection of the Interview Population
SUNY series in Global Politics, List of Titles

Expanded new edition of an important study of the protracted violence in Colombia.


This book examines the political, economic, and military factors that have contributed to thirty-seven years of protracted violent conflict in Colombia. Using four years of field research, and more than two hundred interviews, Nazih Richani examines Colombia's "war system"—the systemic interlacing relationship among actors in conflict, their respective political economy, and also the overall political economy of the system they help in creating. Several key questions are raised, including when and why do some conflicts protract, and what types of socioeconomic and political configurations make peaceful resolutions difficult to obtain? Also addressed are the lessons of other protracted conflicts, such as those found in Lebanon, Angola, and Italy. In this expanded second edition Richani contributes new chapters looking at developments in Colombia since the book's initial publication a decade ago and a look at the challenges for peace that lie ahead.

Nazih Richani is Associate Professor of Political Science at Kean University. He is the author of Dilemmas of Democracy and Political Parties in Sectarian Societies: The Case of the Progressive Socialist Party of Lebanon, 1949–1996.