‘Ser Eleno’: Insurgent identity formation in the ELN

Jan Pospisil, Barbara Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In conflict studies, identity has been posited as an explanatory factor of the resilience of insurgencies. This article focuses on the identity formation of the National Liberation Army (ELN), a leftist insurgency group in Colombia. As a Marxist–Leninist organisation, the ELN aims to overcome capitalism. In their perception, this is possible via the transformation of the individual into a ‘collective personality’. Along the dimensions of ‘content’ and ‘contestation’, we will demonstrate the mechanisms they impose for such identity formation. Identity, as we will argue, is a main factor in explaining why people participate in this insurgency and thereby enhance its resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-247
Number of pages22
JournalSmall Wars & Insurgencies
Issue number2
Early online date5 Mar 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Columbia
  • ELN
  • identity
  • ideology
  • Marxist–Leninist insurgencies
  • guerrilla movements


Dive into the research topics of '‘Ser Eleno’: Insurgent identity formation in the ELN'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this