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Humanizing security through action-oriented research in Latin America

Abello-Colak, Alexandra ORCID: 0000-0002-5295-7467 and Pearce, Jenny (2021) Humanizing security through action-oriented research in Latin America. Development and Change. ISSN 0012-155X (In Press)

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This article critically reflects on the use of action-oriented participatory research to rethink violence and security in Latin America. The authors draw on 12 years of such research (2008–20) in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico, working with communities living in the midst of chronic violence and criminality. Despite innovative experiments, security policies and practices in the region continue to be dominated by counterproductive militarized responses that have failed to address violence and crime. This article argues that in order to challenge politically potent punitive approaches to security and to highlight the interconnected social and economic drivers of insecurity, communities living these realities need to develop their own understanding of ‘security’. This can be used to inform sustainable solutions that address people’s complex experiences of insecurity on the ground. The article brings the agency of those living amidst chronic violence into the security debate through participatory action research. It demonstrates that people living amidst such violence can contribute to making public security equitable, accessible and capable of protecting them while addressing the conditions that reproduce violence and crime without reproducing further violence. This is what is meant by ‘humanizing security’.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: IGA: Latin America and Caribbean Centre
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2021 09:30
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2021 12:09

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