Ricardo Chaparro-Pacheco

 
Faculty of Arts
Pilar Riano-Alcala
Bogotá D.C.
Colombia
Vanier Scholarship
 

Research Topic

The articulation of senses of responsibility in the confessional narratives by former members of paramilitary groups in Colombia

Research Group

Transitional Justice Network (TJN), Liu Institute for Global Issues

Research Description

My research project analyses the historical processes leading to political violence in Colombia, based on the following question: how is a sense of responsibility articulated in the confessional narratives of former members of Colombian paramilitary groups? This research proposal is placed within a set of broader questions this project is concerned with, as follows: 1) How do perpetrators of human rights abuses remember? 2) What kind of actions do former members of paramilitary groups admit responsibility for? 3) How do they justify and make sense of the violence employed and its impacts? And 4) To what extent the admission of responsibility by ex-combatants may contribute to the construction of a collective historical-narrative of socio-political violence in Colombia?

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

I aim to achieve three particular goals with my research: 1) To contribute in the debate for the construction of collective narratives of historical memory in settings strongly affected by war and political violence; 2) To promote social interdisciplinary and participatory research on the psychosocial dimensions of armed conflicts, strategies for transitional justice, and peace building processes; and 3) Strengthening of Social Work graduate studies.

What has winning a major award meant to you?

Winning a major award has shown an important commitment to making the world a better place through the Academy.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Graduate life offers many opportunities to grow both as a scholar and as a person, and UBC really facilitates this process. It is an important contribution to the construction of a better world. Living in Vancouver through the experience of being a doctoral student at UBC has meant being able to look at both at the richness and the diversity of the world, all in the same place!

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I decided to pursue my doctoral studies at UBC because of its high standards, which have positioned it in the top 10 of the best universities in the world for 10 consecutive years. UBC also offers a lot of programs and resources for students in a wide variety of fields, which clearly shows its concern with the well-being of its students, especially international students like me.

 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

By undertaking doctoral studies in Social Work, I am pursuing an interest in strengthening my social responsibility to knowledge construction in general; and particularly that produced in Social Work through research. Specifically, I aim to further develop my understanding of the psychosocial dimensions of armed violence on societies and people's lives.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Every achievement at UBC is worth the effort involved in it. Graduate life at UBC will reward your openness to a world full of new ideas, new approaches, and new experiences.