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Accepted Paper:

Beyond Stockholm: An Amerindian perspective on hostage-taking as political overture.  
Natalia Buitron (University of Cambridge) Grégory Deshoullière

Paper short abstract:

While hostage-taking may be interpreted as an act of unilateral violence, the Chicham of Ecuadorian Amazonia deploy it as an act of hospitality, transforming aggressors into willing listeners and blockade into an opportunity for political redress.

Paper long abstract:

If blockades interrupt flows by targeting strategic points of connection, kidnapping does so by taking hold of the party of confrontation. The act of blocking people disrupts the flow of power itself and recreates the site confrontation, forcing the adversary to activate dialogue. Hostage-taking is often associated with terrorism or ransom methods by criminal gangs, the reason why it is no longer considered a legitimate form of protest by many activists and labour movements around the world. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, however, the Chicham [ex-Jivaro] often block members of the armed forces, of multinational companies, and the civil service who encroach their territory. This is as an eminently diplomatic manoeuvre and, more generally, an established 'local repertoire' of political action against injustices. While hostage-taking may be interpreted as an act of unilateral violence – as framed in legal prosecutions –, the Chicham use it as an act of hospitality toward their opponents: for example, by feeding and caring for the hostages and introducing them to the plights of the locals through involvement in community activities. By familiarizing the hostages as ‘guests’, the Chicham prompt them to feel empathy for their hosts and to take responsibility for their acts. If the ‘Stockholm syndrome’ is commonly depicted as a pathological phenomenon whereby the hostage develops an empathetic bond with the aggressor, the Chicham see the hostage as the aggressor, and their act of capture as a way to transform cold acts of aggression into opportunities for political redress.

Panel Irre03
Blockades and the politics of ir/responsibility
  Session 1 Monday 29 March, 2021, -