Accepted Paper:

Interactions and ambiguity of notions of war and peace in a colonial context  

Author:

Caterina Miele

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at the complex and ambiguous interactions of cultural meanings of peace and war in a colonial context. In a "pacified" colony, discourses, symbols and practices represent peace both as the result of the war and as the continuation of the war against "barbarity" on a different level.

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the complex interactions of cultural meanings of peace and war in a colonial context where peace is represented both as the result of the war and as a continuation of the war. In the "pacified" Libyan colony (1932 - 1943), on the one hand, the conquest and subsequent use of violence was proclaimed to have come to a conclusion, while on the other hand, the colonizers were assigned the task of continuing the colonial war against "barbarity", on a different level. In this phase, the affirmation of colonial rule and the search for stability was pursued via the progressive imposition of a political, economic and cultural order. This paper sustains the hypothesis that, in a settlement colony, the level of peace and security depends not only on the capacity of colonial authorities to overcome the resistance of the local population, but also on the subjection of the colonizers as agents of the Empire. Language, symbols and practices adopted by Italian colonizers in land reclamation and agricultural colonization, foreshadowed the beginning of a phase of colonial violence, whose object was no longer the "Colonized" but rather Nature and the territory of the colony. Based on colonial texts, autobiographies and interviews with Italian ex-colonizers, this paper underlines that in a colonial context, although the notions of peace and war are presented as being mutually exclusive in official discourses, in reality, the construction of peace is the continuation of war via other means and with other subject matters.

Panel IW06
Connecting peace and violence: zones, transgressions and causes