Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elvira María Restrepo

Second Committee Member

Bruce Bagley

Third Committee Member

Santiago Olivella

Fourth Committee Member

Ieva Jusionyte

Fifth Committee Member

Lilian Yaffe


This dissertation examines phenomena of land concentration, land grabbing, and intensive uses of soil in peripheral regions in Colombia designated as New Frontiers of Land Control between 2000 and 2015. Land distribution has been one of the mechanisms linked to the armed conflict in Colombia either as a cause, as a consequence or as a parallel condition. Following that, different struggles around land have evolved since 1990s when this country entered the hardest era in the escalation of the conflict. Although peripheral regions share a number of economic, social, political and to a lesser extent cultural conditions (regarding the presence of minorities), phenomena of land concentration and land grabbing have followed different paths during the last sixteen years. Theoretically, this dissertation adheres to political ecology and institutional geography perspectives that prioritize processes of accumulation in transitional periods, which in the Colombian case have gone from the escalation of the conflict (1998-2006) to the implementation of the two most important peace processes in contemporary history (2005 and 2016). The Ceasefire Transitionality (with a number of political and land conflicts still evolving) is the theoretical lens by which phenomena of land concentration and land grabbing have been analyzed. By employing Maximum Likelihood Estimations (MLE), and Spatial Data Analysis in a 181-municipal- and a 14-year panel data sample, as well as Semi-Structured Interviews in three departments, I argue that the combination of 1) a semi-institutional approach to territorial control by armed actors, 2) the existent land regime and its parallel uses of soil (with a focus on lootable resources such as mining, coca, new prairies and palm), as well as 3) a fragile State presence that has been subjected to processes of cooptation and corruption, have produced different scenarios in terms of land accumulation. This goes from 1) likely cases of land grabbing via criminal bands –in the middle of an ongoing conflict– while promoting extractive illicit industries to 2) cases of land concentration and land grabbing under ceasefire economies due the implementation of strong Military-State alliances.


New Frontiers of Land Control; Territorial Control by Armed Actors; Ceasefire Economies; Land Concentration; Land Grabbing

Available for download on Saturday, May 09, 2020