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Between the Guerrillas and the State: The Cocalero Movement, Citizenship, and Identity in the Colombian Amazon Paperback – July 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Between the Guerrillas and the State is a must-read for those hoping to make sense of the Colombian quagmire. One of that country’s most prominent anthropologists, María Clemencia Ramírez, has a keen ethnographic sensibility and a deep knowledge of the social dynamics of the Colombian Amazon. Her book opens a window onto the complexities of the Colombian conflict in a way that few English-language publications have.”—Joanne Rappaport, author of Intercultural Utopias: Public Intellectuals, Cultural Experimentation, and Ethnic Pluralism in Colombia


“A meticulous account of how coca growing plays out in the labyrinth of southern Colombia, this book, by a seasoned Colombian anthropologist, illuminates the plight of the peasant no less than the double-talk promulgated by the unwinnable War on Drugs.”—Michael Taussig, Class of 1933 Professor, Columbia University


“Brimming over with ethnographic and historical insights, this outstanding book speaks to central questions about social movements, violence, democratization, and the implementation of neoliberal policies in extremely poor regions. María Clemencia Ramírez looks at a grassroots social movement brought about by unlikely actors, rural farmers known as cocaleros, who grow and process coca (the main ingredient in cocaine) in order to survive. The cocaleros clamored for attention from a nearly absent state, which dismissed them, demonizing them as criminals. The irony is unmistakable, for the cocaleros’ claims-making deployed rhetorics coming straight out of neoliberal discourses that speak of citizen responsibility, participatory democracy, and self-actualization. Between the Guerrillas and the State is a brilliant study of neocolonialism at work in a very violent part of southern Colombia.”—Jean E. Jackson, co-editor of Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America


“It is refreshing to read accounts of grassroots resistance to the bullying of national governments that regard citizens as obstacles…. This compelling book makes a valuable contribution to the study of social movements while providing a nuanced understanding of what is really at stake when politicians in countries such as Colombia uncritically accept the narratives and agenda mouthed incessantly by their northern paymasters.”
(The Latin American Review of Books)

Between the Guerrillas and the State is...a rich and much-needed addition to our understanding of contemporary Colombia.” 
(Robert Karl Hispanic American Historical Review)

Between the Guerrillas and the State constitutes an insightful reminder that the 'political world' is rich with local and cultural meanings that are usually ignored in debates about public policy.”
(Ingrid Bolivar EIAL)

“In Between the Guerrillas and the State, Maria Clemencia Ramirez has written an excellent analytical description of the cocalero movement in the Putumayo province in the Colombian Amazon during the 1990s.”
(Carmenza Gallo Contemporary Sociology)

About the Author

María Clemencia Ramírez is a Senior Research Associate and a former Director (2005–2007) of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History in Bogotá.

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