This chapter recaps the core arguments, highlights the contributions of the book and discusses the final implications. One of these implications is to take the next step in peace and conflict studies. This means that if the study of resistance is an important part of a critical project that seeks to provide a more nuanced, realistic and critical account of peacebuilding, consolidating this turn by offering a solid account of resistance is a necessary step towards that project.
Everyday resistance, peacebuilding and state-making addresses debates on liberal peace and the policies of peacebuilding through a theoretical and empirical study of resistance in peacebuilding contexts. Examining the case of ‘Africa’s World War’ in the DRC, it locates resistance in the experiences of war, peacebuilding and state-making by exploring discourses, violence and everyday forms of survival as acts that attempt to challenge or mitigate such experiences. The analysis of resistance offers a possibility to bring the historical and sociological aspects of both peacebuilding and the case of the DRC, providing new nuanced understanding of these processes and the particular case.
This chapter examines violent resistance through the actions of Mai Mai militias and the ways the civilian population relate to them. This is primarily illustrated through the experiences related by interviews undertaken with combatants from Mai Mai militias in South Kivu, including Yakutumba and Raia Mutumboki. In the context of Eastern DRC, armed resistance links with other forms of resistance in its struggle against the effects of an increased militarisation of rural authority and worsened conditions of living. For rural popular classes these effects are largely seen as benefiting the economic and security interests of Congolese and Rwandan elites, and not as realising their aspirations for land, dignified living and political participation.
This chapter examines the case of ‘Africa’s World War’ in historical and regional perspective, identifying the different conflicting visions of order that coexist in the region, and giving the necessary background to the international peacebuilding strategies.
This chapter explains the three main purposes of the book and introduces its approach to resistance, peacebuilding and ‘Africa’s World War’. It focuses on analysing the accounts of resistance in peace and conflict studies, showing that they have ultimately focused on hybridity, missing an important opportunity to theorise resistance. The chapter also identifies important limitations in existing accounts, suggesting a closer use of the everyday framework as an alternative.
This chapter offers the theoretical framework for the sociological analysis of peacebuilding. Its aim is to set two core arguments of the book: firstly that peacebuilding processes have a plural, improvised and contradictory nature; and secondly that resistance is rooted in the coercive and extractive practices of war and state-making and not in an international-local contention. This does not try to demonise peacebuilding and romanticise resistance – quite the opposite – the sociological approach highlights the continuous transformations and contestations that actors and processes in a ‘post-war’ setting go through.
This chapter develops the framework of resistance. It defines everyday resistance as the practices of individuals and collectives in a subordinated position to mitigate or deny the claims made by elites and the effects of domination, while advancing their own agenda. The chapter proposes a categorisation of two different practices following different levels of engagement against authority claims: claim-regarding acts (tax evasion against tax levy, mockery of authorities’ claims to deference) and self-regarding acts (subversion of peacebuilding vocabulary to further peasant agendas, taking over the delivery of social services and goods changing with it modes of social organisation and political order). This gradation improves the everyday framework by including different practices and going beyond the dichotomies in the resistance literature around intentionality, violence and non-violence, and direct and indirect practices.
Simone de Beauvoir and a Global Theory of Feminist Recognition
This chapter critically assesses the ability of Nancy Fraser’s status model of recognition to foster an international, or ‘cosmopolitan’, feminist theory of recognition. Fraser’s tripartite account of recognition, redistribution and political representation supports women’s empowerment as cosmopolitan agents of their own needs, rights and choices world-wide. However, Fraser’s objectivist understanding of misrecognition as status subordination fails to acknowledge the importance of lived experience of social suffering and injustice. The chapter therefore turns to Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘ethic of ambiguity’ to counter these problems and to reformulate our understanding of recognition. This approach emphasizes the tension between the human freedom to choose and the body, materiality and circumstances that perpetually constrain this freedom. Arguing that Beauvoir’s account of lived, embodied social suffering comprises two distinct ‘moments’ of gender misrecognition, namely the ‘suppressed potentiality’ and ‘resistance within commonality’ moments, the chapter argues that her philosophy sheds more light than is commonly thought on the way in which diverse women experience globalization today. The chapter concludes that Beauvoir’s emphasis on ambiguity points to cosmopolitan hope that consciousness of our essential ambiguity as human beings will form the basis for solidarity with those who exist beyond liberal rights or struggles for cultural recognition.
This chapter traces the radical non-recognition of persons by the powerful. What, it asks, if there is absolutely no chance of being recognized as a person by those who wield the power of law over you? I address this question by making us face a Black plantation worker in British Guyana who, during the invasion of Ethiopia by Italy in 1935, identifies himself as an Abyssinian General. How can this General by recognized by the colonial authorities? Facing the Haitian Revolution, wherein Africans authored and executed their own liberation, Hegel can provide no answer to such a question. For European enlightenment thought did not engage with enslaved Africans except as ‘slaves’, humans in biology only, tragically devoid of reason and agency, especially what Hegel would call ‘world-historical’ agency. Working through Frantz Fanon’s critique of the excisions and exclusions in Hegel’s dialectic of recognition, I turn to African-American ethnographer Zora Neale Hurston and Jamaican author Erna Brodber in order to elaborate some of the practices of self-meaning and self-valuation undertaken by descendants of enslaved Africans who have been denied recognition. Returning, by way of these authors, to the Abyssinian General, I pose the question: with what creative matter would it be possible to cultivate a new humanism – not the thin particular of European philosophy that masquerades as a universal, but a thick decolonised humanism that propels liberation? What might it look like to re-recognise one’s own personhood communally, drawing on spiritual resources to redeem a collective self?
This chapter explores the possibility of formulating linkages between theories of recognition and the problem of political evil by paying particular attention to the world, rather than the self or the other. The main point of departure for this analysis revolves around distinguishing between evil and non-evil harms, given a shift in emphasis from dyadic interpersonal relationships to triadic intermediations with the worldly contexts that enable recognition. I first examine some of the key features of contemporary recognition frameworks that attempt to make sense of human vulnerability and harm, and outline how these frameworks, in contrast to Hegel’s philosophy, stop short of the phenomenon of evil. I then move on to discuss how Hegel’s insight into evil as the annihilation or ‘voiding’ of a shared world at the limits of recognition opens up an alternative paradigm, informed by Hannah Arendt’s thinking, that moves recognition outward toward the third term of a common world. I finish by considering some of the ways that genocide can be said to constitute a special type of harm, appropriately considered evil, which aims at and results in the irretrievable loss of plural human worlds.