Paving the way to legitimacy in insurgency: the process of 'legitimation' and government response to FARC in Colombia

2019-02-06T22:18:58Z (GMT) by ALEXANDRA RACHEL PHELAN
This thesis examines why the Colombian government alternated between military approaches and negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It found that legitimation activities influenced government response towards FARC in alternating between policies that emphasise a military or negotiation approach, and can shed light on why this is the case despite the shift in zero-sum and positive-sum considerations of legitimacy. This study argues that insurgencies deliberately use legitimation modes to cultivate organisational legitimacy and to construct an identity distinct from the subject of its grievances in an attempt to consolidate authority through the establishment of a normative system, in turn mobilising popular support. These legitimation modes shape insurgent strategy which impacts and influences government response.