Certainties and uncertainties of the armed fighter
Marie Lecomte-Tilouine (CNRS)
Laurent Gayer (CNRS/Sciences Po-CERI, Paris)
Thursday 12 July, 11:30-13:15, 14:30-16:15, Friday 13 July, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The panel aims at exploring the semantic dimension, socialisation, and political role of certainty and uncertainty in armed movements, through narratives.

Long abstract:

We aim at exploring the social and symbolic dimension of armed movements through the parameters of certainty and uncertainty, which are central to this type of organisation. This set of opposites broadly characterises the fighter's position vis-à-vis an ideology or cause versus his/her armed action which is by definition uncertain. Yet the interplay between these two components of armed movements and within each of them is extremely complex, and a collective reflection using this rarely used entry may provide new avenues for comparative research. We would like to encourage contributions based on fighters' personal narratives in their native language, either in oral or written form, ethnographic observations, and video presentations to capture the ways in which certainties and uncertainties are individually experienced and expressed by each fighter, but also the manner in which they are passed down and formulated between each fighter or to the whole group, and beyond, towards different types of audience or readership. However tactic it may be, uncertainty may indeed draw a limit to the armed organisation from within, as a shared mode of existence, and social contract. Yet armed groups do not merely form a risk fraternity or view themselves as such. Instead, are they to be characterised by their areas of certainty, and the specific temporalities or spatialities attached to them? To approach this broad topic, we would like to gather specialists of different movements, in time and place, and to privilege a multi-disciplinary reflection combining social anthropology and political science.