Title page for ETD etd-11212008-195730

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sanchez Sierra, Juan Carlos
Author's Email Address jcsierra@vt.edu
URN etd-11212008-195730
Title Discourse, Practices and Historical Representations in Two Guerrilla Groups: the Eln and the Mpla, Colombia-Angola, 1956-1986
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Shadle, Brett L. Committee Chair
Panford, Moses E. Committee Member
Polanah, Paulo S. Committee Member
  • Guerrilla
  • discourse
  • practice
  • representations
  • ideology
  • insurgency
Date of Defense 2008-04-30
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this thesis is to present some theoretical elements used in a comparative research that studies two guerrilla groups. The contexts of study, Angola and Colombia, in long internal conflicts during the second half of the twentieth century, witnessed the apparition of two guerrilla groups: the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional/National Army of Liberation, 1963) and the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola/Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, 1956). The goal is to provide an interpretation of the rise, transformations and uses of specific forms of historical representations. In the form of discourses and practices, the ELN and the MPLA constituted historical representations with the purpose of building new political imaginaries, in whose analysis it is possible to explain features such as the structures of power, knowledge and language, how they are constantly changing, and how guerrillas gain legitimacy within a society by using ideological paradigms. For instance, the research suggests that internal crises in the MPLA and the ELN promoted the change from a national liberation discourse, towards a more explicit use of Marxist-Leninist ideological principles. Also, such transformations are associated with the persistence of social distinctions—ethnolinguistic in Angola; rural/urban in Colombia— and their reflection in embryonic institutions that by the middle of the 1970s where supposed to constitute a revolutionary New Society in both Angola and Colombia. In a paradox, the embryonic institutions created by revolutionary groups let infer that they assume the role of a New Establishment because the deployment of power implies mechanism of control, coercion and discipline, rituals, ceremonies, practices and discourses that create truth, law, and language.
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