Guerilla Marketing Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia

2019 Winner

Guerilla Marketing

Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia

by Alexander Fattal

Alexander Fattal, “Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia.” 2019 University of Chicago Press.

Prize Committee

Katherine McCaffrey (Mountclair State University), Shirley Lindenbaum (CUNY) and Nayanika Mathur (Oxford University)

From the Publisher

Brand warfare is real. Guerrilla Marketing details the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. Alexander L. Fattal shows how the market has become one of the principal grounds on which counterinsurgency warfare is waged and postconflict futures are imagined in Colombia. This layered case study illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. Taking a global view of information warfare, Guerrilla Marketing combines archival research and extensive fieldwork not just with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and former rebel communities, but also with political exiles in Sweden and peace negotiators in Havana. Throughout, Fattal deftly intertwines insights into the modern surveillance state, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian interventions, on one hand, with critical engagements with marketing, consumer culture, and late capitalism on the other. The result is a powerful analysis of the intersection of conflict and consumerism in a world where governance is increasingly structured by brand ideology and wars sold as humanitarian interventions.

Full of rich, unforgettable ethnographic stories, Guerrilla Marketing is a stunning and troubling analysis of the mediation of global conflict.