Legitimacy Research in Progress VII: Håvar Solheim

Political historian Håvar Solheim has entered the final phase of his PhD research within the Profile Area Political Legitimacy. He hopes to complete his thesis, "Governability, Public Security and Legitimacy: Local Government and Police in Bogotá, 1995-2015", in the summer of 2016. We are proud to publish an abstract of his research so far.


Håvar Solheim

Håvar Solheim

This PhD project is focused on the local public security management in Bogotá. The Colombian capital represents one of very few cases in the Latin American region where the local government has achieved notorious advancement in fighting crime, violence and insecurity. In particular between the years 1995 and 2003, the city enjoyed a transformation both in administrative and infrastructural aspects. A radical reduction of the city’s homicide rate and a moderate decrease of high-impact crime activities shows a positive development in security issues. This advancement occurred hand in hand with inter-institutional cooperation and integral security planning. Since 2004, the new political leadership has not been capable of maintaining, much less improved the recent years advancement. This has soured the relationship with the local police force. It has also diminished the general image of the city.

Despite this recent decline, the Colombian capital city currently benefits from an institutionalized public security management. These institutional and legal instruments are required for facing complex criminal activities related to national and international drug trafficking business and the country’s internal armed conflict. The project tries to understand how the interagency relation between the local government and police in the city has developed between 1995 and 2015. It explores, on the one hand, the inter-institutional relation between the Municipality of Bogotá and the Metropolitan Police and, on the other hand, the top-down relation between the Metropolitan Police, the local government, and the citizens.

PhD Candidate: Håvar Solheim
Title (provisional): "Governability, Public Security and Legitimacy: Local Government and Police in Bogotá, 1995-2015"
Started: 2011
Finished: expected in the summer of 2016
Department: Latin-America Studies, Institute for History, Leiden University
Supervisors: prof. dr. Patricio Silva (Leiden University) & prof. dr. Kees Koonings (University of Amsterdam/CEDLA)

Last Modified: 01-04-2016