CARGC Book Talk: Alex Fattal, University of California, San Diego

Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia
Guerrilla Marketing Cover
17 Oct 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
Open to the Public

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About the Book

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.

New Yorker
"A sobering book on how armies burnish their brands. . . a detailed, eye-opening investigation."
"Guerrilla Marketing is a fascinating book that illustrates how the government’s turn to marketing blurred the boundaries between war and peace by penetrating deep into the emotional space of insurgents and their families. It is a well-written account that intersperses analytic chapters with the author’s riveting interviews with FARC insurgents, which offer a view into how the rebels understand what has happened to themand sidesteps PAHD propaganda. The book should be read by anyone trying to understand contemporary Colombian society."
Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
Guerrilla Marketing is a fascinating examination of how commercial-style branding has been deployed by both rebels and the state in Colombia's civil war. Fattal deserves high praise for his extraordinary research, carried out over many years in the edgy and borderless terrain of the war's periphery. His insights are lucid and the stories he tells are haunting. This book is a must-read for scholars of modern conflict, journalists, and diplomats.”

About the Speaker

Alexander L. Fattal, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and media activist who specializes in the mediation of the Colombian armed conflict. He is the author of Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia (University of Chicago Press, 2018) and Shooting Cameras for Peace: Youth, Photography, and the Colombian Armed Conflict (Harvard University Press, 2020). Fattal has published in major anthropology and media studies journals and been quoted in leading media outlets. His latest film, Limbo, an experimental documentary portrait of a guerrilla fighter, has just been released. You can learn more about his work at:
Lunch begins at 11:45. Space is limited, RSVP to
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