Doctor of Philosophy
Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies
Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction
In this dissertation, I examine creative methods of peacebuilding that are both community-driven and embodied in their approach. I evaluate how these methods can simultaneously challenge the confines of conventional peacebuilding mechanisms in transitional and post-conflict contexts, while also offering a unique complement to existing programs and structures. I look at the multifaceted socio-cultural expressions of yoga globally, inquiring as to how this mind-body practice can offer opportunities in peacebuilding on both individual and collective levels.
My project is rooted in the principles of community-engaged research and feminist research ethics. More specifically, this dissertation closely engages with the work of the Colombian non-profit organization, Corporación Dunna. Dunna works to address deeply rooted cyclical and intergenerational violence embedded in Colombian society through building capacity for coexistence and trust within communities. As such, their programming focuses on individual mental wellbeing as well as on addressing the manifestations of trauma in families, communities, and whole nations.
The data collection process followed a snowball and community-driven approach to data collection. This process took place during a three-month research fellowship based in Bogotá and included 75 semi-structured brief and in-depth interviews, with 73 participants across Colombia. Interviewees included Dunna’s staff and program participants, citizens-at-large, and various members of the non-profit and peacebuilding sector in Colombia. The research period took place in the months following the signing of the 2016 peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); my findings are situated within this context and fragment in history.
My analysis of these interviews is informed by postcolonial feminist theories, transrational peace philosophy, and the principles of elicitive peace work. My findings aim to expand on existing research within the field of peacebuilding and build the case for a deeper understanding of embodied approaches to peacebuilding in post-conflict and transitional contexts. Moreover, I argue for the need for a holistic approach to peace work that necessarily integrates the various layers of societal conflict including national, community, interpersonal, and individual aspects of human life.
Summary for Lay Audience
In this dissertation, I examine creative methods of peacebuilding (such as art and dance) and evaluate how these methods can both challenge and complement on-the-ground peacebuilding (such as peace accords or truth commissions) in societies transitioning from war and conflict. Specifically, I look at yoga and explore how this method can offer opportunities in peacebuilding by addressing individual and collective wellbeing in Colombia. My research took place in the months following the signing of the 2016 peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); my findings are situated within this context and fragment in history.
My research is community-based—I partner with the Colombian non-profit organization, Corporación Dunna—and follows the principles of feminist research. Dunna works to address deeply rooted and intergenerational violence. Their projects focus on building community, trust, and well-being through yoga. My research involved a 3-month fellowship in Colombia where I conducted conversational interviews which covered a wide range of topics related to yoga and peace with 73 participants. Interviewees included Dunna’s staff and program participants, citizens-at-large, and various members of the non-profit and peacebuilding sector in Colombia.
Lefurgey, Mayme, "Yoga as embodied peacebuilding: Moving through personal, interpersonal and collective trauma(s) in post-conflict Colombia" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7692.
Community-Based Research Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Latin American Studies Commons, Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Peace and Conflict Studies Commons, Women's Studies Commons