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That's just how it is Submission and victimhood in coping with violence Development Studies Association 3 November 2012 Claudia Seymour Department of Development.

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Presentation on theme: "That's just how it is Submission and victimhood in coping with violence Development Studies Association 3 November 2012 Claudia Seymour Department of Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 Overview Structures of violence Political and structural violence Coping Resilience and agency La débrouille Submission Victimhood Conserving violence

3 Structures of violence Founding violence (Das 2007) Resource extraction Forced displacement Land-identity-citizenship conflict (Prunier 2009) Political violence Mobutu: land wars, contested citizenship, violent democratisation, identity-based politics 1994 genocide in Rwanda Africas World War: wars Continuing violence in the Kivus CNDP/M23; FDLR; Mayi-mayi/ militia; FARDC International political economy of violence UN, humanitarian actors, ICC, media Private sector

4 Structural violence Beyond subjective violence (Žižek 2009) Chronic, historically entrenched, political- economic oppression (Bourgois 2001:8) Does not show (Galtung 1969: 173) ? Limits on human self-realisation (Galtung 1969) Generalised poverty, lack of access to basic services- health, education… Analytical framework Structures of violence (Bourdieu 1977, 1980) Violence not simply survived (Bourgois 2001: 29) Law of conservation of violence (Bourdieu 2000)

5 Resilience and agency Psychological models Trauma and psychopathology Resilience Explains how people are able to effectively cope with, adapt positively to and thrive within conditions of risk and adversity (Rutter 1999, Masten 2001, Ungar 2004, Zraly 2008) Theoretical limitations Agency Acting within 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)

6 La débrouille Tactical agency Making use of and discerning possible opportunities to find a way or to use ones own means to live despite it all… We depend on our intelligence- the capacity to know how to exploit our potential, to seize possible opportunities… Economic livelihood Daily labour- fields, mines, portering; sex work; joining armed group Rational decision-making Bounded rationality (Simon 1957) ; satisficing Short term survival Risks No engagement in structures of violence

7 Submission Chosen mechanism Life-saving in conditions of militarised violence Self-protection within structures of violence Defeat and powerlessness Inside we are destroyed.... Were losing our morale. We are unable to defend ourselves. Its 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, well be punished by force. Thats 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, well just be killed. So its better just to suffer

8 Victimhood Weakness as tactic Patronage Traditionally relied on reciprocity, loyalty and protection Monetization, distrust, poverty -> inequality, weakness, dependence Victimcy (Utas 2003) 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 Blame Victim-perpetrator discourses Threat, fear, competition Political strategy of obscuring, distracting Meaning attribution Psychologically protective explanation for individual lack of advancement Reinforces conflict dynamic

9 Conserving violence Engaging with structures of violence coping for short-term outcomes submission and victimhood increase weakness and reinforce defeat: How do we look at the future? Life will always be like this. Or worse. Policy implications Reflection on aids role in reinforcing structures of violence

10 References Bourdieu, P., Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press: London. Bourdieu, P., Social Space and Symbolic Power. Sociological Theory 7 (1): Bourdieu, P., Pascalian Meditations. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Bourgois, P., The power of violence in war and peace: Post-Cold War lessons from El Salvador. Ethnography, 2 (1), de Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. Das, V., Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary. London: University of California Press. Fanon,F., The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. Galtung, J., Violence, Peace and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6 (3), Goffman, E., Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books. Marriage, Z., Tactics! Capoeria & Security, weblog post 22 June Accessible at: Masten, A., Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56 (3), Prunier, G., Africas World War: Congo, the Rwandan genocide, and the making of a continental catastrophe. New York: Oxford University Press. Rutter, M., Resilience concepts and findings: implications for family therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 21 (2), Scheper-Hughes, N. and Bourgois, P., Comments to An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current Anthropology. Volume 45, Number 3: Ungar, M., A Constructionist Discourse on Resilience: Multiple Contexts, Multiple Realities Among At-Risk Children and Youth. Youth & Society, 35 (3), Utas, M., Sweet Battlefields: Youth and the Liberian Civil War. Uppsala University Dissertations in Cultural Anthropology. Žižek, S., Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. London: Profile Books Ltd. Zraly, M Bearing: Resilience among genocide-rape survivors in Rwanda. Unpublished PhD Thesis.

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