Book Discussion: Guerrilla Marketing and Managing Multiculturalism in Colombia

Date: 

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

CGIS South, S216, 1730 Cambridge Street

Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia

A new book, Guerrilla Marketing, details the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. Alexander L. Fattal shows how the market has become one of the principal grounds on which counterinsurgency warfare is waged and postconflict futures are imagined in Colombia. This layered case study illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. Taking a global view of information warfare, Guerrilla Marketing combines archival research and extensive fieldwork not just with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and former rebel communities, but also with political exiles in Sweden and peace negotiators in Havana. Throughout, Fattal deftly intertwines insights into the modern surveillance state, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian interventions, on one hand, with critical engagements with marketing, consumer culture, and late capitalism on the other. The result is a powerful analysis of the intersection of conflict and consumerism in a world where governance is increasingly structured by brand ideology and wars sold as humanitarian interventions.

Jon Lee Anderson has called Guerrilla Marketing: 
“a fascinating examination of how commercial-style branding has been deployed by both rebels and
the state in Colombia's civil war. Fattal deserves high praise for his extraordinary research, carried out over many years in the edgy and borderless terrain of the war's periphery. His insights are lucid and the stories he tells are haunting. This book is a must-read for scholars of modern conflict, journalists, and diplomats.”


The New Yorker has called it:
“A sobering book on how armies burnish their brands. . . a detailed, eye-opening investigation.”

Alex Fattal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies at Penn State University. Learn more about his work at www.alexfattal.net and follow him @FattAlx.

Managing Multiculturalism: Indigeneity and the Struggle for Rights in Colombia

Indigenous people in Colombia constitute a mere three percent of the national population. Colombian indigenous communities' success in gaining collective control of almost thirty percent of the national territory is nothing short of extraordinary. In Managing Multiculturalism, Jean E. Jackson examines the evolution of the Colombian indigenous movement over the course of her forty-plus years of research and fieldwork, offering unusually developed and nuanced insight into how indigenous communities and activists changed over time, as well as how she the ethnographer and scholar evolved in turn.

 

The story of how indigenous organizing began, found its voice, established alliances, and won battles against the government and the Catholic Church has important implications for the indigenous cause internationally and for understanding all manner of rights organizing. Integrating case studies with commentaries on the movement's development, Jackson explores the politicization and deployment of multiculturalism, indigenous identity, and neoliberalism, as well as changing conceptions of cultural value and authenticity―including issues such as patrimony, heritage, and ethnic tourism. Both ethnography and recent history of the Latin American indigenous movement, this works traces the ideas motivating indigenous movements in regional and global relief, and with unprecedented breadth and depth.

 

Jean E. Jackson is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her books include Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation and the State in Latin America (2002), co-edited with Kay B. Warren, and "Camp Pain": Talking with Chronic Pain Patients (2000).

 

Presented in collaboration with the Harvard Colombian Student Society