Democracy and civil war: The case of Colombia
We argue that scholarship on the Colombian civil war can fertilize the research program on political violence and democracy in two ways. First, the Colombian case demonstrates that the scholarly research agenda on electoral violence should expand to incorporate a broader focus on democratic institutions. In the context of an ongoing civil war, democratic reforms in Colombia had a substantial impact on the dynamics of wartime violence. Second, the Colombian case showcases an overlooked danger of decentralization that, if implemented under the wrong conditions, can facilitate the capture of democratic institutions by political and criminal armed groups. These insights have important implications for the study of wartime democratic governance and state-building relevant both for the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC, and for cases beyond Colombia.
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