The Development of Political Alienation and the Emergence of Guerrilla Movements

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Date Submitted: 01/12/2014 09:39 PM

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Political alienation is a crucial element in the study of politics because it can help to measure the participation and accessibility that people have in their political organization. Political alienation “refers to a social condition in which citizens have or feel minimal connections with the exercise of political power” (Reek and Knoke, 1999). It can have different causes, three of them are: 1- the historical, social and cultural context, 2- the political structure, organization and influence, 3- and the economic issues[1] (Twining, 1980). Political alienation is a very important factor that needs to be adequately understood and dealt with because it can have dreadful consequences. People response in different manners to obtain their goals and it can occur either through legitimate or even illegitimate means, depending on the political culture of each society. One of the most critical consequences of political alienation is the radicalization of some individuals who may engage into violence to ensure that their identity, ideals and objectives are distinguished and adequately represented. One of these manifestations is the appearance of guerrilla movements throughout different periods and places around the world. By exploring the development of the concept and the causes mentioned this paper will study the role of political alienation in the emergence of guerrilla movements, taking as an example the case of Colombia.

Throughout the development of politics there has been significant progress in the relationship between governments and civilians. It has been suggested that governments should be political institutions designed to protect their citizens’ rights, create and enforce the law and represent their people’s interests[2] (Wickham-Crowley, 1987). Supported by John Locke’s “Social Contract”, there needs to be a direct association between civilians and their...