Accepted Paper:

Violence of witchcraft and inter-religious violence in the Central African Republic (2005-2014)  
Andrea Ceriana Mayneri (EHESS Paris)

Paper short abstract:

Starting from some fieldwork carried out in the Central African Republic from 2005 to the present day, this contribution seeks to analyse the inter-religious violence that has been affecting the country from 2012 as an extension of the violence normally exercised against those accused of witchcraft

Paper long abstract:

The inter-religious violence that exploded in the Central African Republic at the end of 2012 has been described by the mass media as a clash between the Christian and Muslim communities. While violence is increasing in the country, a reading of the crisis in terms of a religious clash proves inappropriate for explaining the real reasons underlying this widespread violence. My research in the CAR from 2005 to the present has allowed me to analyze the violence of the accusations of witchcraft that are launched against an "other" - a neighbour, a colleague, a member of one's own family - who is accused of being responsible for the ills and misfortunes that strike individuals and communities. An analysis of the violence of witchcraft and the violence of the inter-religious accusations allows us to shed light on the similarities and to conjecture a continuity between the two forms of violence. The "other" accused of witchcraft has gradually become a religious other (the Muslim or the Christian) as part of a discourse that is influenced, not only by economic and political interests, but by the rhetoric of the Pentecostal churches, with their obsessive insistence on the presence of evil and the need to combat it on every front. In this contribution I shall try to show how some of the combatants in the CAR (2013-2014) perceive this struggle as a "mystic" clash, fought with the weapons of witchcraft against an enemy, an "other" who is close at hand and persecutory

Panel P033
Conflicts and social violence in an interconnected and uncertain world