Violence and Belonging : The Quest for Identity in Post-Colonial Africa book cover
1st Edition

Violence and Belonging
The Quest for Identity in Post-Colonial Africa

ISBN 9780415290074
Published December 20, 2004 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

Modernization in Africa has created new problems as well as new freedoms. Multiparty democracy, resource privatization and changing wealth relationships, have not always created stable and prosperous communities, and violence continues to be endemic in many areas of African life - from civil war and political strife to violent clashes between genders, generations, classes and ethnic groups.
Violence and Belonging explores the crucial formative role of violence in shaping people's ideas of who they are in uncertain postcolonial contexts where, as resources dwindle and wealth is contested, identities and ideas of belonging become a focal area of conflict and negotiation. Focusing on fieldwork from across the continent, its case studies consider how routine everyday violence ties in with wider regional and political upheavals, and how individuals experience and legitimize violence in its different forms. The Zimbabwean and Sudanese civil wars, Kenyan Kikuyu domestic conflicts, Rwandan massacres and South African Truth and Reconciliation processes, are among the contexts explored.

Table of Contents

Preface  List of Contributors  1. Violence and Sociality Reconsidered: An Introduction  2. 'Nowadays They Can Even Kill You for That Which They Feel is Theirs': Gender and the Production of Ethnic Identity in Kikuyu-Speaking Central Kenya  3. Conflicts in Context: Political Violence and Anthropological Puzzles  4. Hunger, Violence and the Moral Economy of War in Zimbabwe  5. Violence and the Boundaries of Belonging: Comparing Two Border Disputes in the South African Lowveld  6. Fertile Moral Links: Reconsidering Barabaig Violence  7. 'Food Itself is Fighting With Us': A Comparative Analysis of the Impact of Sudan's Civil War on South Sudanese Civilian Populations Located in the North and the South  8. The Politics of Identity and the Remembrance of Violence and Gender at the Installation of a Female Chief in Zimbabwe  9. Double-Voiced Violence in Kenya  10. Escape from Genocide: The Politics of Identity in Rwanda's Massacres  11. Women and the Politics of Identity: Voices in the South African Truth and Reconciliation  12. Ambiguous Identities: Notioa of War and 'Significant Others' among the Tigreans of Ethiopia

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Vigdis Broch-Due is a professor in the Centre for International Poverty Research, University of Bergen, Norway. She has taught at the universities of Washington, Oslo, Cambridge and London, as well as at Rutgers University.


'Essential reading not only for Africanists but for anyone else interested in understanding the woeful state of today's world.' – Ethnos