“ That's just how it is” Submission and victimhood in coping with violence. Development Studies Association 3 November 2012 Claudia Seymour Department of Development Studies School of Oriental and African Studies University of London [email protected] Overview.
‘Structures of violence’
Political and structural violence
Resilience and agency
Founding violence (Das 2007)
Mobutu: land wars, contestedcitizenship, violent ‘democratisation’, identity-basedpolitics
1994 genocide in Rwanda
‘Africa’s World War’: 1996- 2003 wars
Continuing violence in the Kivus
CNDP/M23; FDLR; Mayi-mayi/ militia; FARDC
International politicaleconomy of violence
UN, humanitarianactors, ICC, media
Beyond ‘subjective’ violence (Žižek 2009)
‘Chronic, historicallyentrenched, political-economic oppression’ (Bourgois 2001:8)
‘Does not show’ (Galtung 1969: 173) ?
Limits on ‘human self-realisation’ (Galtung 1969)
Generalisedpoverty, lack of access to basic services- health, education…
‘Structures of violence’ (Bourdieu 1977, 1980)
Violence not simply ‘survived’ (Bourgois 2001: 29)
‘Law of conservation of violence’ (Bourdieu 2000)
Trauma and psychopathology
Explains how people are able to effectively cope with, adapt positively to and thrive within conditions of risk and adversity (Rutter 1999, Masten2001, Ungar 2004, Zraly 2008)
Actingwithin and influencing established social structures and relations, constructing and determining own life outcomes (Bourdieu 1977, Boyden 2000, Arnfred and Utas 2007)
Tactical agency(de Certeau 1984, Marriage 2012)
Finding ‘ways of using the constraining order’ (de Certeau 1984:30)
Making use of and discerning possible opportunities
‘to find a way’ or ‘to use one’sownmeans’
“to live despite it all… We depend on our intelligence- the capacity to know how to exploit our potential, to seize possible opportunities…”
Daily labour- fields, mines, portering; sex work; joining armed group
Bounded rationality (Simon 1957) ; ‘satisficing’
Short term survival
No engagement in structures of violence
Life-saving in conditions of militarised violence
Self-protection within structures of violence
Defeat and powerlessness
“Inside we are destroyed.... We’re losing our morale. We are unable to defend ourselves. It’s the authorities who have become our enemy... We have realised that power is not ours, that there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves… We have learnt that anytime we try to defend ourselves, we’ll be punished by force.”
“That’s just how it is.”
Acceptance psychologically protective
Perpetuating the structures of violence
“If we try to liberate ourselves or if we aim to be heroes, we’ll just be killed. So it’s better just to suffer”
Weakness as tactic
Traditionally relied on reciprocity, loyalty and protection
Monetization, distrust, poverty
-> inequality, weakness, dependence
Presentation of oneself as a victim to access assistance
Symbolic interactionism (Goffman 1959) ; superficial, short term knowledge
Proxy agency (Bandura 2001)
Capacity for discerning differentials in power and resources
International political economy of violence: vulnerability = material assistance
Threat, fear, competition
Political strategy of obscuring, distracting
Psychologically protective explanation for individual lack of advancement
Engagingwith structures of violence
coping for short-termoutcomes
submission and victimhoodincreaseweakness and reinforcedefeat:
“How do we look at the future? Life will always be like this. Or worse.”
Reflection on aid’srole in reinforcing structures of violence
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