Accepted paper:

Crisis and the dream of solidarity: staying with old concepts and/or moving towards the future on Madagascar

Authors:

Peter Kneitz (Martin-Luther University, Halle (Saale))

Paper short abstract:

The everyday crisis mode on Madagascar creates a lust for a rhetoric, and of practices, playing on the cords of respect, solidarity and national refoundation. The paper will trace such dynamic by regarding the recently created 'Council of Malagasy Reconciliation'.

Paper long abstract:

The interpretation of live as a never-ending disaster is one of the characteristics of the Malagasy discursive landscape. Long standing problems like the mounting problem of insecurity, a dysfunctional state or the bitterly commented pauperization of the population, and actualities like the recent outbreak of plague disease, the threatening arrival of another possibly devastating cyclone or the lamentable state of infrastructures are contributing together to create a consistent picture: to live a nightmare. The paper will discuss one particularly visible Malagasy "project of reconstruction": a lust for a rhetoric, and of practices, playing on the cords of respect, solidarity and national refoundation, aiming for overcoming the crisis mode. While the emphasize on 'solidarity' (fihavanana) might entail a nostalgic revival of the values of precolonial times, it should be regarded as well as an attempt to strengthen the idea of nation and, simultaneously, to integrate new global currents of formalization, of institutionalization, and of the politics of peace, peace-building and universal rights - with many effects on the physical staying, moving and settling of the population. The recently created 'Council of Malagasy Reconciliation', today one main pillar of the constitutional body of the Malagasy Republic, will be at the center of the presentation. Strategies of re-construction, it will be proposed eventually, might be seen as an endless spiral of dialogues between the actors and a multi-level structured environment, urging the anthropologist to conceptualize the dialectical interpenetration of global/local roles, concepts and practices.

panel P007
Anthropology of re-construction: exploring and thinking the remaking of broken worlds [Disaster and Crisis Anthropology Network]