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Revista Latinoamericana de Bioética

Print version ISSN 1657-4702

rev.latinoam.bioet. vol.14 no.1 Bogotá Jan./June 2014






Enrique Ferrer-Corredora

a Colombian professor of Politics and Literature (Universidad Externado de Colombia) and Universidad San Buenaventura. Also he has worked at The College of William and Mary , and Hampton University (Virginia USA); and Universidad Nacional in Colombia.

Fecha de recepción: Febrero 3 de 2014
Fecha de evaluación: Marzo 12 de 2014
Fecha de aceptación: Mayo 09 de 2014


This article discusses the concepts of modernity and insurgency in order to develop the question of the causal relationship between a degree of modernity and the possibility of the emergence of the insurgency among the Colombian population. In this regard is to highlight how the construction of modernity emerges as a stage to shield the possibility of social marginalization , and this proposal is projected in a research framework to correlate with specific variables to conduct the empirical correlations established field of a hypothetical deductive mode. Thus a process of radical modernity and modernization is seen as the way to build peace in Colombia , to the extent that it contributes to justice , equity and forgiveness. A modernity from the construction of the subject , from the material conditions and especially since the construction of the national political debate , not in sight without structural changes in institutions.

Key words

Modernity, insurgency, human rights, violence, peace, socio-genetic structure.


Este artículo expone los conceptos de modernidad e insurgencia en aras de desarrollar la pregunta de la relación causal entre un grado de modernidad y la posibilidad de la aparición de la insurgencia entre la población colombiana. En este sentido se quiere resaltar cómo la construcción de modernidad emerge como un escenario para blindar esta posibilidad de marginación social, y se proyecta esta propuesta en un marco investigativo con variables concretas a correlacionar para llevar a cabo en el campo empírico las correlaciones establecidas de un modo hipotético deductivo. Así, un proceso de modernidad y de modernización radical se vislumbra como el camino para la construcción de la paz en Colombia, en la medida en que el mismo contribuye a la justicia, a la equidad y al perdón. Una modernidad desde la construcción del sujeto, desde las condiciones materiales y sobre todo desde la construcción del debate político nacional, no se vislumbra sin cambios estructurales en las instituciones.

Palabras clave

Modernidad, insurgencia, derechos humanos, violencia, paz, estructura socio-genética.


Este artigo expõe os conceitos de modernidade e insurgência, a fim de desenvolver a pergunta da relação causal entre um grau de modernidade e a possibilidade do surgimento da insurgência da população colombiana. Neste respeito é de salientar como a construção de modernidade emerge como um cenário para proteger esta possibilidade de marginalização social, e esta proposta projeta-se em um entorno de investigação com variáveis específicas para correlacionar para executar no campo empírico as correlações estabelecidas de um modo hipotético dedutivo. Assim, um processo de modernidade e de modernização radical vislumbra-se como o caminho para a construção da paz na Colômbia, na medida em que o mesmo contribui para a justiça, a equidade e o perdão. Uma modernidade desde a construção do sujeito, desde as condições materiais e, especialmente, desde a construção do debate político nacional, não é vislumbrado sem mudanças estruturais nas instituições.


Modernidade, insurgência, os direitos humanos, a violência, a paz, a estrutura sócio-genética.

To what extent does the militant profile affect the fortification of insurgency? Or better still, the relations between the militant profile and the creation of an insurgency, leaving open the possibility of a systematic cycle.1

The relation between the profile of the militant and the fortification of the insurgency is complex and even inverse between previous qualification and permanent enlisting. The militant qualification would suppose the insurgency fortification; despite the enlisting possibility of this one it would be vitiated with a structural way. The modernity (Illustration) level and the instrumental competition in the world of the militant life could go against the possibility of their enlisting in the insurgent groups. And in another sense, to the question of whether the insurgency fortifies the militants, the structural sense of education low profiles, rural and little symbolic capital origin, would define to the habitual enlisted ones. Thus, the perception of individual militant fortification would occur almost by the initial none existence of capital, not even symbolic. This fortification would be subject to the enlisting of lacking subject of option in their own life projects, of mercenaries excluded from the options of the system.

This is an essay of causal relations and coexistence between the profile of the militant and the fortification of the insurgency.

"An insurgency is nothing more than armed revolution against the established political order. 'Pure' insurgencies are internal affairs and the insurgents are self-sustaining. They do not require assistance from foreign powers. In essence, insurgencies are civil wars". (Drew, 1988, 4)

I will take like immediate reference the Colombian insurgent groups; although, I will constantly make reference to their international counterparts. The cases of international conflicts have structural similarities, in the Colombian case is possible to emphasize some conjunctures: the secular orientation of their militants (the most), the complex geography of the territory and the participation of the drug trafficking getting a considerable source of resources. The FARC is a group of origins and rural idiosyncrasy with pretensions of validity in the Marxist-Leninist line (but during the last two decades their philosophy has been very confusing and contradictory, with links to drug trafficking and dirty acts of war, kidnapping and harassment of civilians). In this sense, groups like ETA and Al Qaeda, for different reasons, away from the motivations and causes of the FARC, either by radical nationalism, or extreme fundamentalism. In order to conceptualize the Colombian insurgent horizon, I retake the declarations of Habermas in, Philosophy in a Time of Terror (La filosofía en tiempos de terror)

For Habermas, when we join the reach of the terrorism to the fulfillment of its goals offers the possibility of distinguishing between at least three different types of terrorism: non discriminative war of guerrillas, paramilitary war of guerrillas and global terrorism. First, it is represented by the Palestinian terrorism, in which the murder is taken to carry out often by a suicidal militant. The model military of guerrillas is own of the movement of national liberation that are legitimized retrospectively by means of the formation of a State. Third, the global terrorism does not seem to have objective different realistic politicians to operate the vulnerability of complex systems2. (Borradori, 2003, p. 94)3

The relation between the profile of the militant and the fortification of the insurgency is an expression field structure in terms of Bourdieu. Its overcoming implies a recognition of the construction of a modern subject in order to built his autonomy (as enlightened and productive citizens) and pretensions of validity (in a sense of the communicative action theory). At the same time, the scene of the expression and the possibility of emergency arise in a scope of a fragmented modernity: On the one hand, the ideological and instrumental rational world of the developed countries blanket of a delayed way the third-world societies; on the other hand, does worsening the social differences.


The pre-modern ontogenesis (non-illustrated and with blurred borders in its secularization) of the militants, again from the genetic structuralism (Bourdieu), reveals the network of possibilities for farmer's social performance and the socioeconomic and symbolic structure of the world of illussio, or the semiology of the hope in order to get accomplishment in the socioeconomic and symbolic structure of the world; its shattering feeds the nexuses on the farmer with the insurgency illussio.

Habitus understood like one "structuring-structured or, that introduce in the practices and thoughts the practical schemes derived form the incorporation (by means of the historical process of the socialization, ontogenesis) of resulting social structures of the historical work of the case of successive generations (filogenesis)" (Bourdieu, 1995)4. It determines in the case of the militants by radical way its possibilities to gear in the system, because its profile does not have the version in which the capital is pronounced (financial, symbolic, human, etc); its horizon is feudal in a society with fragmented capitalist networks.

The stoics used to say that what depends on us is not the first movement, but only the second. It is difficult to control the initial inclination of habitus, but the reflective analysis teaches us that ourselves give the situation the power that it has on us, it allows us to fight for modifying our perception of the situation and, with it, our reaction (Borradori, 2003, p. 94)5 .

This fact will condition the vision of the world and the position-taking of the militant, and will establish a relation fortification/weakness with the insurgency according to the perspective of the analysis. We will have an ample mass of subjects available for the enlisting and, as well, the sensitivity of the bonds in terms of ideological qualification will question the consistency of the insurgency. Let's say the profile is an external event that the insurgency uses to obtain and maintain his militia in the theater of operations, although the profile in turn determines the claims of the insurgents as rebellious discourse of Colombian society.

The field structure (as functional network of the world construction) of the insurgency and the complex network of society relations as possibilities could have conflicts of legitimacy and validity, and depending on its resolution as mechanism of life options could emerge the possible conversion from the militant; in agreement with the strength like appears one or another option. The changing time of position-taking of the subject as related with transformations in its world vision is understood as the conversion.

Being modern implies to construct mechanism of rationality in terms of an illustration with pretensions of universal validity (academic scopes and debate world-wide) like a way to obtain the subject autonomy and to make possible the emergence of ethical and moral behaviors in terms of Kantian considerations and not only subject to coercion of the positive law: "If the farmers submissive these varied authorities are the main candidates for the revolution, those who still participate in effective bows of reciprocity pattern-client are less propitious to respond to these radical calls" (Wickham-Crowley, 1987, p. 11)6 .

The FARC recruits among the farmers and peasants living on FARC's turf, who plows in effect governed by the group; it also recruits from Colombian citizens terrorized by right-wing paramilitary groups. It you have been known to actively recruit minors, sometimes using force. Little is known about ELN's recruitment strategies, experts say (cierra cita) (Terrorism: questions & answers, see bibliography).f

Beyond Kant's categorical imperative, if we subject the militants to an analysis from the Public Choice Theory (Elster et al), in a dynamic cost-benefit, with strong economic and legal sanctions on the elections, we can enter into a micro analysis, ignoring the initial conditions of the militants in a Rawlsian sense. In fact, this is the traditional way like analysis case studies assume the subjects involved in violence acts. However, the analysis between modernity vs. insurgency, precisely implies a contradiction of both the means and conditions of the militants. This should not be taken as an attempt to justify the violent of the insurgents. But, we can not ignore the need to build modern subjects with minimal dynamics involved within the system, can lead to misguided policies, usually short-term and warmongers; contrary to the need for structural and long-term change, with foundational transformations in family and social fabric.

In this sense, Habermas questions the radical Marxist about the economic base as deterministic explanation (He doesn't doubt of its relevance) although emphasizes the present importance of the ideological superstructure; in contemporary words the human capital construction in a boundless circulation scene of the information in order to get an illustrated man (a modern man).

(...) the quantitative expansion of the participation has meant a decrease in its quality. To it they have contributed diverse factors: the rate to which the information is processed by, and circulates in, the public sphere does difficult to maintain the communication model that Kant had in mind when she discussed the subject of the public sphere: the academic interchange. Whereas this one occurs to the participants will have in a discussion sufficient time to think and to formulate his arguments, the rapidity that implies the massive communication serves to the interest as those who selects and distributes the information and not those of who receive it (Habermas, cited by Borradori, 2005, p, 95)7 .

And Borradori comments as for Habermas the global terrorism has to do with the loss of legitimacy of the democratic governments. Exactly, it worries to the analysts, in the present Colombian case, the real possibility of restoration of the demobilized ones to the structure of the social project thus avoiding his recycling in groups of 'common delinquency' (Ortiz, 2005). Thus, the discursive use of the today militant is in favor half-full of its profile like contradictory possibility of its existence to the interior of an insurgency without modern ideological horizon.


The militants profiles of the Colombian insurgent groups (farmers, day laborers, in the best one of the working cases, with precarious academic levels) causes its exhibition to the recruitment, their fragility and dependency feed the scenario for their active or passive incorporation to the militancy. Thus, the low profile average (excluded people) offers an big seedbed in the countryside as mechanism of fortification of the insurgent rows although at the same time this profile causes that the society and the State can take part on the nexuses between militant and group with certain success; especially, if labor mechanisms of restoration are created.

Looking for a sure future, the profile of the militant is a crucial point in the construction of political strategies of counterinsurgency (to be able soft, and even in the strategies of the hard power). The relations between profile of the militant and fortification of the insurgency already enunciated force to construct modernity to us with project of short, medium and long term. In fact, as he already said himself in the proposal, by definition a modern man in a strict sense would not have greater possibilities of participation of typical action of the insurgency, except for being in danger to lose his recognition like universal citizen. A modern man acts in rational terms (like social construction of the reality), shares moral minimums and ethical of behavior, in the sense of the categorical imperative (Kant), develops speeches with universal of knowing arranged to fortify the dialogue or the instrumental action on the world. The incorporation of a militant with modern profile would fortify in many senses to the insurgency; however, by definition, a modern militant hardly ever would be made insurgent (or, he could prefer fight from his position in the society if has minimal level of life).

A key circumstance in the analysis of the profile of the insurgent militant is the same development of the countries in the scope of Capitalism. Beyond the Marxist tremendous vision enrolled in the development of production means, in the economic cycles with merchandise nonabsorbed by the system and in the pauperization of the workers, the present society offer less than two central facts than question this monotonous vision of the society: One, although the economic base continues being definitive like substratum of the social relations, the current cultural structure presses from freer scenarios that economic base beyond orthodoxy Marxist (according to Habermas). Two, exactly the production means have caused the horizontalityof the academy and the cover of the basic necessities for the most of the population, although occupied in their instrumental actions with minimum satisfaction worthy and superior to the proletarian scenarios of century XIX. In definitive, under relations of cost-benefit, the insurgency would pay by underneath levels of a good life of average citizen.

The crucial question is: What is the equilibrium point and circumstances for establishing the border between the resignation to insurgency or the resignation to modern life? And obviously, the question emerges with both material and cultural scenarios complexes in the area of institutional development and scope of each moment.

In this sense, a policy against insurgency must consider inclusion of the other (one thing will be the prevention and another one the reintegration, this one require as the moral and legal recovery as the security of demobilized ones, guerrillas or paramilitaries). Now, I am going to list some lines about this perspective and it will be developed in a future wider research.

From economics, as the insurgent as her/his family must be prepared for their insertion in productive structure of society, into a competent perspective and a sustained development.

From economics, as the insurgent as her/his family must be prepared for their insertion in productive structure of society, into a competent perspective and a sustained development.

From culture we must construct competent men and women in their cognitive fundaments, they must be able to develop cultural activities into familiar environment, and they must be able to participate in the universal culture.

Conclusions from bioethics

The issue of respect for human rights in the field of bioethics and biopolitics involves building strong institutions recognized by the civil society , and thus the social sanction (including legal sanction), will be the main guarantor respect for life over any conflict of interest. The development of the capacities of individuals to occupy a place in the world is what allows the recovery of the young rebels, and therefore the possibility of blocking the growth of armed conflict.

In this sense, a social bioethics focuses discussion on how inequality, injustice and poverty are erected barriers to building a general bioethics, whose center transcends the initial concerns about abuse of the science and technology development linked with the manipulation of human life in its biotic environment in order to complete the question how development itself fails to take into account the social exclusion; then it paves the way to the attack against the life beyond the laboratory manipulation, by manipulating the social reality from the centers of power, favoring the emergence of a "social DNA" whose conviction genetic condemns opportunities to raid and to overcoming the weakest within the system and subsystems of the social fabric individuals. Our commitment is social bioethical: we must preserve the life of the loss of autonomy of individuals to build themselves, without the intervention and manipulation from both chemical laboratory and from their parliamentary laboratory, unless the clinical condition of body and society be required.

Bioethics is concerned around how to naturalize life, life in general and in particular of human beings life; it is, from where we are. And this then implies awareness of life and this is done in society, since if we are aware ourselves and our environment we are assumed as social beings. So it is from society (better civil society), where life, either as animals or as cultural subjects human beings are, emerges as a conjunction between being aware and being in the world. Bioethics tries to naturalize life and society in a complex dialogue, where each other, after naturalized, melted their bodies, although the difference remains in the each one consciousness where from its shackles we hang our skin. But making consciousness is only possible in life and in society, so it is perhaps because we are alive and in society, then what we have to do is to socialize nature, so life and society will find possibilities.


1 The relation between the profile of the militant and the insurgency can be confronted from scopes like: a) the enlisting, b) the permanence, c) a qualitative effect, d) a cohesive effect; and e) others, like a global relation of Coexistence. In addition one could simply establish a correlation (a model with dummy variables can be run), between the profile (several characteristics) and other affected variables of the insurgency (the mentioned ones above). I understand the question definitively, although empirically and from a broader perspective on a relationship between the profile of the militant as an independent variable, and strengthening the insurgency as the dependent variable. However, the variables present correlation and that would affect the design of a mathematical model, because the insurgency also molds the possibilities of welcome of the militant. There is a roundtrip causality. This approach to the problem is fundamentally from the Colombian case; although it would not be far from most of the insurgent scenes of other countries. Volver

2 The translations of quotes are mine; these are kept in footnotes like in original Spanish versions. Volver

3 Para Habermas, vincular el alcance del terrorismo al cumplimiento de sus metas ofrece la posibilidad de distinguir entre al menos tres diferentes tipos de terrorismo: guerra de guerrillas no discriminativa, guerra de guerrillas paramilitar y terrorismo global. La primera está representada por el terrorismo palestino, en el cual el asesinato es llevado a cabo a menudo por un militante suicida. El modelo de guerra de guerrillas es propio de los movimientos de liberación nacional que se legitiman retrospectivamente mediante la formación de un Estado. El tercero, el terrorismo global, no parece tener objetivos políticos realistas distintos a explotar la vulnerabilidad de sistemas complejos. Volver

4 A structuring and structured structure, feeding practices and practical thoughts schemes incorporating derivatives (through the historical process of socialization, ontogenesis) resulting social structures of historical work of successive generations (phylogeny). Volver

5 The Stoics used to say that it is up to us is not the first move, but only the second. It is difficult to control the initial inclination of the habitus, but thoughtful analysis, which teaches us that we give ourselves to the situation of the power she has over us, allowing us to fight for change our perception of the situation and thus, our reaction. Volver

6 If farmers under these various authorities are prime candidates for revolution, those who still participate in effective bonds of patron-client reciprocity are least likely to respond to these radical appeals. Volver

7 The quantitative expansion of participation has meant a decrease in quality. To this have contributed several factors: the rate at which information is processed by (and circulating) the public sphere becomes difficult to maintain the communication model that Kant had in mind when discussing the issue of the public sphere: academic exchange. While the participants were given a sufficient discussion time to think and formulate their arguments. The speed involving the mass media serves the interests of those who select and distribute information and not to the recipients. Volver


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