Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Oswaldo Zavala

Committee Members

Magdalena Perkowska

Nuria Morgado

Subject Categories

Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature


The work of the Colombian author Germán Castro Caycedo (Bogotá, 1944) has produced some of Colombia's most widely read non-fiction works during the last five decades. Among other intellectuals, his work represents a post-1970s Colombian society conditioned by the complex issue of drugs and drug trafficking, which were the by-products of a socio-historical process since the beginning of the 20th century. The present investigation examines journalistic articles, essays and non-fiction narrative by Castro Caycedo to study how they articulate a privileged knowledge about the perception and signification of the phenomenon of drug trafficking. From a merely anecdotal and marginal activity, the drug trade has been relocated at the center of the political, economic and social reality of Colombia and most countries of the hemisphere. I describe first a map of the social and historical contexts of Colombia, from the beginning of the 20th century, but with greater emphasis on the second half of the century, when the symbolic production of the concept of the “narco" emerged. This allows me to analyze the most recent non-fiction literature in that country and the elements of drug trafficking that gradually adhere to it. Then, through an interdisciplinary conceptual approach, I study the way in which this imaginary continues to be constructed in Colombian society in the second decade of the 21st century. In the midst of unresolved conflicts around organized crime, Colombia now appears immersed in a complex geopolitical condition that can be discerned through the non-fiction narrative of Castro Caycedo.