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Becoming Someone: Youth, violence and drug-dealing in Colombia’s urban periphery
We kindly invite you to the fourth edition of the Occasional CONPEACE Webinar Series. As part of this series, researchers of the University of Oxford’s programme CONPEACE – From Conflict Actors to Architects of Peace (conpeace.ccw.ox.ac.uk) and international speakers analyse differing visions of security, how they can be reconciled, and how security architectures need to be adapted to adequately respond to changing security landscapes from a people-centred perspective.

In this meeting, Dr Elena Butti, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, will talk about her research on youth, violence, and drug-dealing in Colombia’s urban periphery. Since 2015, Dr Butti has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork with adolescents involved at the low-ends of criminal groups in and around Medellín, Colombia. In this talk, she will discuss what motivates these young people to start engaging in crime and violence, and how they slowly develop an aspiration to climb up the criminal ladder. She argues these youth’s criminal engagement stems from a profound sense of ontological insecurity (Giddens 1991), result of growing up in dysfunctional families amidst violence and precarity. Made to feel like ‘nobodies´, by climbing up the criminal ladder these youth gain money, recognition, and respect – in other words, they ´become somebody´. Theoretically, this talk problematises criminological and sociological framings of street youth as ‘outsiders’. Practically, it offers a series of recommendations for more effective approaches that can steer these young people away from crime.

After the talk, Prof Lirio Gutiérrez Rivera (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) will discuss Dr Butti’s findings against the background of the debate on security in post-Peace Agreement Colombia. The event will conclude with a Q&A and will be moderated by CONPEACE Postdoctoral Research Fellows Dr Markus Hochmüller and Dr Dáire McGill.

May 5, 2021 02:00 PM in London

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