Overcoming Violence through Local Institutions: A Comparative Study of Households and Communities in Colombia
Violent conflicts have lasting effects on social norms, institutions, and governance at the local level. Two conditions must take place for societies to sustain an end to large-scale violence: -the nature of state-society relations must be transformed from one characterized by fear and mistrust to one based on confidence -societies must build capable and legitimate institutions that can deliver security, address injustice, and create employment for citizens. While there is consensus on what must be done, there is very little understanding of how these essential conditions can be realized. Using Colombia as a case study, this research project aims to establish how state-society relations can be transformed after violent conflict and how legitimate institutions can be fostered. Colombia has experienced the longest civil war on the continent and has witnessed more than 250,000 deaths over 50 years. Specifically, the project will seek to: -understand how local governance, institutions, and social norms are transformed through violence in contexts where non-state armed groups control or contest territory -understand, from a gender perspective, how individuals and communities overcome the impact of violence and increase their security by adopting coping strategies to deal with economic risk -develop evidence on how capable and legitimate institutions can be built in the context of violence -share the evidence with development and security actors to support efforts to design interventions and policies aimed at enhancing social justice, decreasing poverty, preventing the renewal of violence, and promoting democracy. As Colombia searches for an exit from conflict, this project will offer insights on how violence has transformed state-society relations and the very state institutions that often mediate this relationship. It will also document positive approaches to transforming these relationships and state institutions.