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Accepted Paper:

Trajectories of Hope and Survival Tactics: Evidence from the Survivors of Boko Haram’s Violence in Nigeria  
Emmanuel Chidozie (Leuven Catholic Univerity, Belgium)

Paper short abstract:

This paper traces the production of ‘hoping subjects’ through the lenses of hope and survival practices. In doing so, it depicts how Christian religious practices are shaped through the prism of everyday experiences of anticipation.

Paper long abstract:

Within a decade after the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the lives and limbs of a great majority have been severed leaving in its wake a sustained precarious experience for survivors. How do survivors carve or anticipate hope amidst precarities? Through an understanding of trauma that is constantly shifting between uncertainty and certainty; disorientation and potentiality, amongst survivors who have been displaced by the violence of Boko Haram in Nigeria, this paper traces the production of ‘hoping subjects’ through the lenses of hope and survival practices. In doing so, it depicts how Christian religious practices are shaped through the prism of everyday experiences of anticipation. Building on Christian religious practices such as ‘symbolic healing’ as well as the existing debate on hope, this article argues that hope may appear at a first glance to be a religious expression of futurity or an idea that conforms to Christian teaching. However, in line with participant-observation and interview with the Boko Haram’s survivors at the International Christian centre, I show that hope is a mode of ‘world-making’ and feeling, living in the ‘meantime’ as well as survival tactics that is aimed at enduring traumatic experiences or uncertainties and challenges of everyday life at the centre. In other words, this paper corresponds to the literature on Hope, wherein hope pertains to the constellation of feelings and socio-religious imaginaries which are anchored in everyday mundane or present practices (such as storytelling, dancing, etc.) at the International Christian Centre.

Panel P015
Salvaging Hope and Seeking Survival: Futurities in postwar borderlands and Broken Ecologies after wars
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -