Experiencing violent conflicts over the life course and across generations: connections and ruptures

Lidewyde Berckmoes (Leiden University)
Bert Ingelaere (University of Antwerp)
Social Anthropology
Room 03
Session slots:
Thursday 13 June, 16:15 - 18:00
Thursday 13 June, 17:55 - 19:40

Short abstract:

Little is known about the long-term impact of experiences of mass violence on personal and communal narratives and practices. What does a processual, life-course or intergenerational perspective reveal about how communities and individuals reproduce or disrupt factors sustaining cycles of violence?

Long abstract:

Many African societies have been plagued by episodes of intense and/or mass violence, recently or in distant pasts. Hence the interest in the long-term and cyclical effects of violent conflict: does violence beget violence? Political economy approaches established the (causal) links between violent conflict and poverty or institutional development in general (e.g. the conflict trap). Less is known about the impact of mass violence on less tangible factors such as narratives and practices of identity and belonging, feelings of trust and security, capacities to aspire or ways of participating in social and political life. Although it is widely accepted that shared experiences of mass violence (or, cultural trauma) become part of the story people tell about themselves, their community and the world, it remains unclear how this evolves over the life course and, especially, to what extent and how transmission across generations occurs. In this panel we therefore invite contributions based on empirically rich and methodologically innovating research documenting and analyzing the long-term effects of violent conflict, preferably but not exclusively, by adopting a longitudinal and processual life-course or intergenerational perspective. What does such an approach and perspective reveal about the ways communities and individuals reproduce or disrupt the factors sustaining cycles of violence. Who remains stuck, vulnerable or damaged and why? Who portrays and what clarifies resilience, personal development and growth?