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Dr. Lukas Rehm

Research project

„Political Violence and state formation. La Violencia in Tolima, Colombia 1946-1964”

The project examinates the civil war in Colombia between 1946 y 1964 known as “La Violencia” in the province of Tolima. On the one hand the project investigates on the level of the actors, how violence can be used as an instrument of political exclusion and inclusion, respectively and how power structures are defined through oppressive acting or are undermined. Based on the assumption that the act of violence is not only addressed to the victim, but – regarded as a form of communication (ritualized and symbolic violence) – also to the media, the social environment of the victim, etc. as a third actor. Hence the project investigates on a second level of analysis the discursive struggle of interpretation of the character of the acts of violence and their legitimacy. Legitimacy determines if an actor can reach the participation of the political through their acts of violence. Thereby I follow the question how political space is being transformed through violence itself and the discourses about it, how it is being expanded or constructed and if new proportions of power can be established in the political space.
On a third level the focus of the investigation lies on the processes of state formation. In doing so the project examines how the state accomplishes (forcibly) its demand for leadership and sovereignty on a regional level, ergo has been constituted respectively if and how the state has been contested (forcibly) in its claim for power.


List of presentations


  • Rehm, Lukas: "Procesos violentos de formación del Estado en los inicios del Frente Nacional en el Tolima, Colombia", in: "Estado, Sociedad Civil y Gobernanza Local en Contextos Violentos" (Revista Colombiana de Sociología 38:1 [2015]), pp. 39-62. (URL:
  • Rehm, Lukas: "La construcción de las subculturas políticas en Colombia: los partidos tradicionales como antípodas políticas durante La Violencia, 1946-1964", in: Historia y Sociedad N° 27 (Julio-Diciembre de 2014), pp. 17-48. (URL:
  • Rehm, Lukas: Politische Gewalt in Kolumbien. Die Violencia in Tolima (Historamericana 32), Stuttgart 2014.
  • Rehm, Lukas: "Kulturelle Kontexte massiver Gewalt. Die Dichotomisierung der sozialen Welt während der kolumbianischen Violencia, 1946-1964", in: Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung 12:2 (2011), pp. 8-35.
  • Rehm, Lukas: “Indios y ladinos nunca podrán ser amigos”. Acerca de los orígenes del movimiento maya en Guatemala, 1976-1985, in: Oikema (Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y Artes, Universidad del Tolima) 1:1 (Oktober 2011), S. 117-146.
  • Rehm, Lukas: "Antikoloniale Befreiung oder Klassenkampf? Nationalistische Debatten um das Verhältnis von Staat und Nation in der frühen Maya-Bewegung", in: AmerIndian Research N° 20, 6:2 (2011), S. 100-107.
  • Rehm, Lukas: "No caer en el proceso de transculturación". Die Ursprünge der guatemaltekischen Maya-Bewegung, 1976-1985, Berlin: Berlin Wissenschaftlicher Verlag 2008.