Mestizaje, Multiculturalism, Liberalism and Violence

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Mestizaje has been theorized as a racial-cultural process of nationalist homogenization, as a mode of subaltern contestation or inconformity, and as a practice that simultaneously combines both inclusion and exclusion. This exclusive inclusion is characteristic of liberalism generally, and may involve violence. The core meanings of mestizaje are rooted in sex and reproduction, which allow ideas of inclusion (family, kinship) to gain traction. These ideas mask the violence of mestizaje (rape, coercion, enforced assimilation, elimination). In Colombia, the long-standing tension between democracy and violence has recently articulated in a particular way with mestizaje as this has become reconfigured as inclusive multiculturalism, coinciding with the explosive spread of extreme violence to once peaceful ‘black regions’ of the country. This violence should not be understood as inherently racial - e.g., as purposely targeting black populations. But placing mestizaje in relation to liberalism, as social orders characterized by an inclusion-exclusion tension, highlights the racialized connections between mestizaje and violence in the Colombian context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-343
JournalLatin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2016


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