Oscar Palma
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The changing meaning of ‘terrorism’ in Colombia
A matter of discourse
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The use of the concept of terrorism in Colombia, especially regarding who is a terrorist, has changed over the years according to the discourse, making it difficult to gain a singular concrete understanding of the phenomenon. Understanding terrorism, and the responses that the Colombian state has created to address it, requires identifying how specific agents have been categorized as terrorists according to the context. This chapter argues that instead of being an objective and continuous reality through the history of Colombia’s conflicts, terrorism has appeared as a result of the construction of discourses that have positioned specific agents as terror organizations. This categorization is not a simple matter of semantics; it has various policy implications related to the forms in which the state has responded to violent actors.

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