The Frontier Effect
State Formation and Violence in Colombia
Cornell Series on Land: New Perspectives on Territory, Development, and Environment
Published by: Cornell University Press
228 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 13 b&w halftones, 3 b&w line drawings, 3 maps
- ISBN: 9781501747540
- Published: March 2020
In The Frontier Effect, Teo Ballvé challenges the notion that in Urabá, Colombia, the cause of the region's violent history and unruly contemporary condition is the absence of the state. Although he takes this locally oft-repeated claim seriously, he demonstrates that Urabá is more than a case of Hobbesian political disorder.
Through his insightful exploration of war, paramilitary organizations, grassroots support and resistance, and drug-related violence, Ballvé argues that Urabá, rather than existing in statelessness, has actually been an intense and persistent site of state-building projects. Indeed, these projects have thrust together an unlikely gathering of guerilla groups, drug-trafficking paramilitaries, military strategists, technocratic planners, local politicians, and development experts each seeking to give concrete coherence to the inherently unwieldy abstraction of "the state" in a space in which it supposedly does not exist. By untangling this odd mix, Ballvé reveals how Colombia's violent conflicts have produced surprisingly coherent and resilient, if not at all benevolent, regimes of rule.
1. Producing the Frontier
2. Turf Wars in Colombia's Red Corner
3. The Paramilitary War of Position
4. Paramilitary Populism: In Defense of the Region
5. The Masquerades of Grassroots Development
6. The Postconflict Interregnum
Uraba: A Sea of Opportunities?
"The Frontier Effect is beautifully written, grounding a complex argument in a carefully crafted narrative. This book crosses disciplinary divides in geography, anthropology, history, and political science. Scholars interested in conflict and peace studies, political economy, and development should absolutely read and teach this book."~The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
"Teo Ballvé provides an expansive, historical, and ethnographic analysis of diverse examples of state formation in the northwestern region of Colombia known as Urabá. The Frontier Effect is an engaging and sophisticated contribution to existing critical geographical scholarship concerning the social production of territory, land grabbing, and the political economy of conflict. [T]he text awards readers with an innovative and original analysis of the country's historical and ongoing conflict."~Human Geography
"Overall, Ballvé offers outstanding research that will catch the attention of scholars interested in analysing the territorial contradictions of the relative stability of Colombia's democracy and the different forms and stages of the country's protracted political violence."~The Journal of Peasant Studies