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Accepted Paper:

An injury to all is an injury to one: totalising violence, political participation and epochal change in Belarusian countryside  
Roman Urbanowicz (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation concerns events of 2020 revolution in Belarus as it was lived by young men in the countryside, particularly focusing on totalising experiences of state violence that shaped novel structures of communal feelings, visceral cravings for participation and contemplations of the moment.

Paper long abstract:

The events of the anti-authoritarian uprising of August 2020 in Belarus reached diverse quarters of the nation, and its countryside did not remain passive, even though it was previously seen as notoriously dominated by of atomising system of dependency, implemented through the state-controlled labour economy.

As an overwhelming wave of police brutality, with thousands of arrested and hundreds of tortured and mutilated, swept the country in the days after the presidential elections, an unprecedented and sudden feeling of camaraderie came to the surface amongst the lads in the village. It stemmed precisely from that very sensation of the totality of violence that shook so many of previously apathetic observers to the very core and prompted visceral cravings for retaliation and restoration of dignity. Novel forms of collective mobilisation came to the fore, and daily discourses were swamped with notions of trust, hope, and liminal properties of the precious moment that felt like gravity was no more.

In the presentation, I focus on the experiences of young rural men, with whom I spent August 2020 during my ethnographic fieldwork in a predominantly Polish-populated village in the north-west of Belarus.

Analytically, I focus on various scales of the temporal and visceral properties of the event, analysing such aspects as its generative and futural properties, put in the context of larger sensations of nascent epochal change and, in particular for this presentation, of unprecedented sense of liminal togetherness that preponderated every thread of social fabric. In so doing, I engage critically with literature on hope, revolutions and events.

Panel P115b
Trust and Violence in Times of Political Transformation II
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -