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The Double Bind of “Playing Double”: Passing and Identity among Ex-Combatants in Colombia

Erin McFee

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After over 50 years of internal conflict, Colombia faces the challenges of ongoing violence, transition, and post-conflict simultaneously. The Colombian Agency for Reintegration of Armed Persons and Groups (ACR) aims to combat stigma against ex-combatants, fostering a more inclusive post-conflict society. Despite these peacebuilding efforts, the article's ethnographic findings reveal a complex reality for ex-combatants, who must navigate daily threats to personal, familial, and socioeconomic security. Through fieldwork and interviews at ACR service centers, the article illustrates how ex-combatants must "play double" – presenting themselves as demobilized to access state benefits while concealing their identities to mitigate deeply ingrained stigma. This analysis also delves into the application of social theory on passing and stigma to enhance our understanding of the nuanced conditions in transitioning settings.

Published: February 2016

To cite this publication: 

McFee, Erin. 2016. The double bind of “playing double”: Passing and identity among ex-combatants in Colombia. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 22(1), 52–59.

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