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Beyond displacement

Territorialisation in the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia

Part of the 2021/22 StadsSalonsUrbains lecture series ‘Cities for People, not for Profit. From private ownership to communal stewardship’
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In (post-)conflict contexts, territorial struggles are strongly associated with the displacement of communities, whether rural-urban or intra-urban. Here, we argue for refocusing attention on territorialisation processes as a means of understanding the dynamics and consequences of contestation between vulnerable minority communities and powerful groups.
Focusing on the majority Afro-Colombian city of Buenaventura in the Pacific coastal region, which is simultaneously Colombia’s most significant port and one of its most neglected cities, we explore processes of de- and re-territorialisation. Beyond tropes of displacement and resistance, territorialisation offers a conceptual lens for understanding territorial struggles as complex events, in terms of the physical and symbolic effects of de-territorialisation on communities and individuals, and re-territorialisation as plural, disruptive practices of re-existence.
This suggests the need to focus on everyday experiences as well as specific time- and space-bound moments of struggle. In this way, focusing on territorialisation permits a deeper understanding of the social production of territory with multiple elements relating to identity, symbolic practices, and time-space dimensions.


Melanie Lombard University of Manchester


17:30 > 19:30


Centre Tour à Plomb


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