top of page


Masculinity and moral sonhood among former non-state armed group (NSAG) members in Mexico and Colombia

Erin McFee, Cecilia Dedios Sanguineti

thumbnail_2019-07-16 12.51.36.jpg

Despite the existing wealth of research on armed conflict and violence, Colombia and Mexico remain understudied in the context of mass atrocities. This chapter addresses this gap by examining individuals with prior affiliations to groups involved in such atrocities. While public, private, and third-sector actors often attribute men's involvement in non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in Colombia and Mexico to a "lack of values" and "dysfunctional families," this study takes these claims seriously. Through an abductive study design and extensive ethnographic fieldwork, social census activities, and interviews, the chapter challenges the notion of a values deficit, explore gendered understandings of family roles, and highlight the relationship between these understandings and decisions to join NSAGs. The findings reveal that participants do not lack values, and shared understandings of fulfilling filial obligations contribute to decisions to participate in NSAGs, transforming reciprocal relations of care into relations of harm when individuals are bound to dangerous activities and places.

Published: July 2021

To cite this publication: 

McFee, Erin and Dedios Sanguineti, Cecilia. 2021. "Masculinity and moral sonhood among former non-state armed group (NSAG) members in Mexico and Colombia." in Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum et al. (Eds.) Public Health, Mental Health, And Mass Atrocity Prevention.

bottom of page