Creative survival as subversion
Solidarities and creative tactics against ‘conditions of death’1
n the DRC, the exercise and consolidation of state authority does not necessarily imply social transformation or a real commitment of the state to
impose itself but, rather, the management of state absences and state presences through a plurality of authorities. Still, the patterns of coercion and
extraction that have followed from the 20 years of conflict, with the different
state-making and peacebuilding processes, determine the conditions for the
Likewise, we believe these themes deserve more investigation in the service of peacebuilding, so we aim to begin that journey in this chapter. To date, practitioner self-care is underexplored in Peace and Conflict Studies, even though peacebuilders themselves could benefit immensely from further enquiry in this area, which could in turn strengthen the depth and quality of their work as facilitators for peace. Indeed, the research for this book has suggested that, through dance and creative movement, participants had an opportunity to experience themselves in a way that
As a musician who works for peace, ‘unity’ holds less interest for me than ‘harmony.’ Unity is when we all sing the same note. Harmony is when we sing different notes, and they are beautiful together.
David Lamotte, musician and peace activist
This quote from David Lamotte points to important aesthetic and creative considerations. It also highlights some
polarity; the fundamental belief in and pursuit of the creative act; and the acceptance of the inherent risk of stepping into the mystery of the unknown that lies beyond the far too familiar landscape of violence.
We share his belief that the wellspring of peacebuilding rests in the moral imagination and his acknowledgement that such imagination is difficult and messy, but also necessary for
and mirroring in particular can also have their challenges or limits, which we also explore.
This chapter makes a few key points: (a) nonviolent engagement with, and expression of, emotions are vital to peacebuilding; (b) empathy can play an important role in emotional peacebuilding; and finally, (c) dance and creative movement activities, such as the use of mirroring, when done reflectively, can be valuable practices for developing empathy and supporting peacebuilding.
Emotions, dance and the politics of building peace
chapter clearly suggested that a
collective self-recognition of the trauma imposed by the transition as well as an acknowledgement of the “sacrifice” would
do more good than forcing an overly positive image of it.
Using Walter Benjamin’s creative engagements with the
concept of shock, the chapter was also able to draw up some
possible explanations for the relationship between intense
feelings of nostalgia—in situations where these would not
necessarily be warranted—and periods of transition and
social change. Under particular circumstances, shock
becomes much more than
peace[building] process. So, it really is localised to their needs.
‘Claire’, M4P founder, United States
Do local actors working outside the Global North experience and perceive the M4P process as localised? And what does it mean to be localised when it comes to peacebuilding programming? In this chapter we investigate what dance and creative movement can tell us about local and/or global approaches to peacebuilding, including how the local and the global
in peacebuilding and the ways in which dance and creative movement can play a part in this process. The research conducted for this book suggests that dance can constitute an effective, inclusive pathway to support youth participation in peacebuilding. At the same time, the data gathered across the three case studies highlights the importance of developing approaches that are age specific, gender sensitive, culturally relevant and flexible.
Youth, peace and security
At least as far back as the beginning of the UN in 1945, the
between the organizations of civil society and political
institutions, as well as the assumption that the democratization process can be measured in any way through the
“strength” or “weakness” of civil society.
Chapter 7 offers a more creative approach to understanding social change through an examination of the role that the
visual plays in the formation, maintenance and destruction
of collective illusions. Using the case of a group of photographers who see themselves as social anthropologists studying
and tracking the Romanian transition through images, the
Germany in American post-war International Relations
Depression and the entry of the US into the two World Wars had challenged their self-understanding. 78 As summed up by Holborn: ‘America was in a state of crisis. Would the German immigration have happened ten years earlier, its intellectual outcome would probably have been marginal … as intellectual questions would not have been of much concern in a prosperous country.’ 79 As a consequence, calibrating between external and existing knowledge, American scholars and émigrés were encouraged to rethink their commonly accepted knowledge, leading to creative meaning