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Urban Poor Perceptions of Violence and Exclusion in Colombia


  • Caroline Moser
  • Cathy McIlwaine


The study documents how people living in poor urban communities in Colombia, perceive violence, and identifies, the categories of violence affecting communities, the costs of different types of violence, the effect of violence on social capital, and the causes, and effects of social exclusion. Social institutions were identified across the nine research communities, making the distinction between those institutions benefiting the community, i.e., those creating positive social capital, and those institutions benefiting their members, while hurting the community, i.e., creating perverse social capital. The first group, which included primarily schools, and health centers, were mostly trusted, whereas those institutions dealing with the prevention of violence, such as state security, and justice institutions, were the least trusted. Interestingly, perverse organizations were the most prevalent membership organizations, including guerrilla type, and paramilitary groups, perpetrating political violence, and exercising a dominant force. The study identified avoidance, confrontation, conciliation, and other lesser strategies, as forms to deal with violence, and recommendations suggest the need to address the serious problem of displaced people, the unemployment situation, and above all, the need for peace negotiation, to abolish the pervasive nature of political violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline Moser & Cathy McIlwaine, 2000. "Urban Poor Perceptions of Violence and Exclusion in Colombia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15182, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:15182

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Putzel, 1997. "POLICY ARENA: Accounting for the 'dark side' of social capital: reading Robert Putnam on democracy," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(7), pages 939-949.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aghajanian, Alia Jane, 2016. "Social capital and conflict: impact and implications," Economics PhD Theses 0116, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    2. Cathy McIlwaine & Caroline O. N. Moser, 2001. "Violence and social capital in urban poor communities: perspectives from Colombia and Guatemala," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 965-984.
    3. Silvey, Rachel & Elmhirst, Rebecca, 2003. "Engendering Social Capital: Women Workers and Rural-Urban Networks in Indonesia's Crisis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 865-879, May.
    4. Linda Mayoux & Robert Chambers, 2005. "Reversing the paradigm: quantification, participatory methods and pro-poor impact assessment," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 271-298.
    5. Tsjeard Bouta & Georg Frerks & Ian Bannon, 2005. "Gender, Conflict, and Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14873, January.
    6. World Bank, 2011. "Violence in the City," World Bank Other Operational Studies 27454, The World Bank.
    7. World Bank, 2002. "Colombia : Social Safety Net Assessment," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15361, The World Bank.
    8. Caroline Moser, 2001. "Insecurity and social protection-has the World Bank got it right?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 361-368.
    9. Moser, Caroline O.N. & McIlwaine, Cathy, 2006. "Latin American Urban Violence as a Development Concern: Towards a Framework for Violence Reduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 89-112, January.


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