The Traumatized Colombian Body: Collective Healing and Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict Colombia
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The Colombian armed conflict left Colombia with far-stretching traces of both individual and collective trauma. This thesis seeks to generate an in-depth understanding of how collective trauma is manifested in post-conflict Colombia and to take under scrutiny the process of collective healing within the scope of trauma-informed peacebuilding practices from 2016 to the present day. The collection of the empirical data is organized around the Bunsichari project, a trauma-informed peacebuilding project of Dunna Corpóracion taking place within the municipalities of Fusagasugá and Venecia. This is analyzed through trauma-informed and conflict transformation literature, departing from individual trauma to how trauma is embodied on the collective level. Herewith, the collective body exhibits trauma-related symptoms such as avoidance of the past, hypervigilance, tactile as a heavy layer of constantly present collective fear, covering the underlying frail social processes. Unhealed collective trauma appears to be sustained and incited by abundant ongoing structural problems, thereby encapsulating the massive reservoir of collective trauma of Colombia and forming a breeding ground for repeated cycles of conflict. Subsequent to the inquiry on collective trauma, this research delves into the process of healing the collective trauma within peacebuilding practices. It articulates the importance of suitable spaces in which people can genuinely listen and understand to each other. Here, processes of recognition, awareness, openness and vulnerability can emerge, allowing suppressed emotions to come to the surface and igniting processes of humanization.