"Nostalgia and Resistance"
photographer: Claudia Maria Lopez
"How Do Citizens Become Non-Citizens?"
My dissertation, "The Life-Cycle of Forced Migration: The Lives and Politics of Rural Internally Displaced Persons in Medellín, Colombia,” engages with the three fields of migration, development and urban studies to examine integration and citizenship. With over 7 million people displaced over the last 30 years, Colombia is home to the largest population of internal forced migrants in the world. I use this exceptional case to expand our understanding of migration, with a particular focus on mobility, belonging and citizenship. My research utilizes a feminist mixed method for gathering data, drawing from ethnographic interviews (n=81) and surveys (n=112) with internally displaced persons, as well as interviews with representatives of government agencies (n=22) and NGOs (n=16), to examine the macro, meso, and microlevel determinants of integration as the displaced reconstruct their lives in the city of Medellín, Colombia. I use the concept of the lifecycle of forced migration to tease out the multiple forms and phases of displacement experienced by migrants. Each chapter of the dissertation is organized around one of four phases of forced migration, namely displacement, resettlement, integration, and community-building. In every phase, I engage with four key ideas: displaced consciousness, partial citizenship, the state-society interface, and place. I argue that different shifts occur throughout the life-cycle, as the displaced interact in the urban with the state, economy, and receiving community, that (re)make and influence displaced peasant's individual and collective identity as related to their membership to the nation. Ultimately, I contend that this research
demonstrates the limits of integration and national citizenship, offering a more nuanced approach for examining citizenship as a spectrum, pushing us to examine belonging beyond a binary category of citizen/non-citizen; included and excluded.