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Bullets, ballots and bases

15 Chad’s political violence at 50: bullets, ballots and bases David Styan Chad is arguably the least cohesive and most bloodstained state to emerge from the decolonisation of French Equatorial Africa in 1960. This chapter takes the Chadian state’s 50th anniversary as a prism to examine selected aspects of the political violence which has marked the lives of Chadians throughout the half century. The chapter is divided into four sections: first it chronicles the events and debates surrounding the delayed 50th anniversary in Chad itself, contrasting the ceremony

in Francophone Africa at fifty
A Habermasian model of truth recovery

Simpson 04 30/3/09 09:32 Page 77 4 Victims of political violence A Habermasian model of truth recovery Introduction How can people in Northern Ireland (and by extension other post-conflict societies) come to ‘know the past’, after thirty-eight years of violent conflict? That is perhaps the most pressing and vexing question of all, particularly for victims. In this chapter, this issue is addressed via an in-depth discussion of a unique and original model for truth recovery that is based on the communicative rationality theory of Jurgen Habermas (1984). One

in Truth recovery in Northern Ireland

1 Concerning method and the study of political violence Ah hell. Prophecy’s a thankless business, and history has a way of showing us what, in retrospect, are very logical solutions to awful messes … Things are certainly set up for a class war based on conveniently established lines of demarcation, and I must say that the basic assumption of the present set up is a grade A incitement to violence. (Vonnegut 1999, chap. IX) When asked about anarchism’s association with violence, I often reply by inquiring whether one would ask the same thing of a retail clerk, a

in The politics of attack

Agreement was ratified by 71 per cent of voters, formally ending almost three decades of civil strife. For the first time, representatives from both religious communities came together to endorse an elite-driven political accommodation designed to respect their differing traditions and to end the political violence. Unlike previous political initiatives, a key aspect of the Agreement was to acknowledge the

in Conflict to peace

In discussions of conflict, war and political violence, dead bodies count. Although the politics and practices associated with the collection of violent-death data are seldom subject to critical examination, they are crucial to how scholars and practitioners think about how and why conflict and violence erupt. Knowledge about conflict deaths – the who, what, where, when, why and how – is a form of expertise, created, disseminated and used by different agents. This article highlights the ways in which body counts are deployed as social facts and forms of knowledge that are used to shape and influence policies and practices associated with armed conflict. It traces the way in which conflict-death data emerged, and then examines critically some of the practices and assumptions of data collection to shed light on how claims to expertise are enacted and on how the public arena connects (or not) with scholarly conflict expertise.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Between 1975 and 1979, thirty-one unidentified bodies bearing marks of torture appeared at various locations along Uruguays coastline. These bodies were material proof of the death flights implemented in neighbouring Argentina after the military coup. In Uruguay, in a general context of political crisis, the appearance of these anonymous cadavers first generated local terror and was then rapidly transformed into a traumatic event at the national level. This article focuses on the various reports established by Uruguayan police and mortuary services. It aims to show how,the administrative and funeral treatments given at that time to the dead bodies, buried anonymously (under the NN label) in local cemeteries, make visible some of the multiple complicities between the Uruguayan and Argentinean dictatorships in the broader framework of the Condor Plan. The repressive strategy implemented in Argentina through torture and forced disappearance was indeed echoed by the bureaucratic repressive strategy implemented in Uruguay through incomplete and false reports, aiming to make the NN disappear once again.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Critically interpreting the past

Northern Ireland has entered what is arguably the key phase in its troubled political history—truth recovery and dealing with the legacy of the past—yet the void in knowledge and the lack of academic literature with regard to victims' rights is particularly striking. This book analyses truth recovery as a fundamental aspect of the transition from political violence to peace, democracy and stability in post-conflict Northern Ireland. It argues that it is essential for any process of truth recovery in Northern Ireland to provide the victims of political violence with the opportunity to express and articulate their narratives of suffering within the context of public dialogic processes. The book outlines an original model: that victims of political violence should be enabled to engage in meaningful truth recovery through a Habermasian process of public democratic deliberation and communication involving direct dialogue with the perpetrators of such violence. This process of ‘communicative justice’ is framed within Habermas' theory of communicative action, and can help to ensure that legitimate truth recovery publicly acknowledges the trauma of victims' and subjects' perpetrator narratives of political violence to critical scrutiny and rational deconstruction. Crucially, the book aims to contribute to the empowerment of victims in Northern Ireland by stimulating constructive discussion and awareness of hitherto silenced narratives of the conflict. This difficult and unsettling interrogation and interpretation of the conflict from a comparatively ‘unknown perspective’ is central to the prospects for critically examining and mastering the past in Northern Ireland.

Editor’s Introduction

elected president; he publicly pays homage to former military dictators and torturers, and his talk of gunning down opponents has provided licence for the spread of political violence. The election of Donald Trump in the US, in November 2016, was a watershed for electoral politics, giving global significance to rightward shifts elsewhere. With Trump in the White House, the US itself has become the greatest threat to the liberal order it once authored, not because of his own idiosyncratic way of doing politics but because of the strategic realignment

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Politics and society in Northern Ireland over half a century

After three decades of violence, Northern Ireland has experienced unprecedented peace. It is now generally accepted that the peace accord which ended the Northern Ireland conflict, the 1998 Belfast Agreement, is an exemplar of this trend. This book examines the impact of the 1998 Agreement which halted the violence on the Northern Irish people. It covers changes in public opinion across all areas of society and politics, including elections, education, community relations and national identity. The surveys presented show that despite peace, Protestants and Catholics remain as deeply divided as ever. The book examines the development of the theory of consociationalism and how it has been woven into the intellectual debate about the nature of the Northern Ireland conflict. The role of religion in conflict transformation has emerged as an important issue in Northern Ireland. Ethnonationalism in Northern Ireland is fuelled by its multifaceted and complex nature. The constitutional position of Northern Ireland has been the topic of recurring debate since partition in 1920. The role of education in promoting social cohesion in post-conflict societies is often controversial. The book explores both the nature and extent of victimhood and the main perpetrators of the political violence. The key elements of a consociational approach include a grand coalition representing the main segments of society; proportionality in representation; community (segmental) autonomy; and mutual vetoes on key decisions. The main lesson of peace-making in Northern Ireland is that political reform has to be accompanied by social change across the society as a whole.

Communiqués and insurrectionary violence

Since the early 2000s, global, underground networks of insurrectionary anarchists have carried out thousands of acts of political violence. This book is an exploration of the ideas, strategies, and history of these political actors that engage in a confrontation with the oppressive powers of the state and capital. The vast majority of these attacks have been claimed via online communiqués through anonymous monikers such as the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI). The emphasis of the insurrectionary, nihilist-infused anarchism is on creating war-like conditions for opposing capitalism, the state, and that which perpetuates structural violence (e.g. racism, poverty, speciesism, gender roles). To connect the various configurations of post-millennial, insurrectionary resistance, the book explores explore three of its most identifiable components, the FAI, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF), and emergent networks in Mexico. In his discussion of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, conflict theorist Richard Rubenstein points to a two-stage understanding advocated by Vietnamese leader and military strategist General Vo Nguyen Giap. The book also examines the strategy of Blanquism, the contribution of "classical anarchists," the influence of theorists such as Tiqqun and The Invisible Committee. It seeks to construct the basis for an insurrectionary framework based around a shared politic. The feminist methodology and ethic of research adds a great deal, including a reading of identity politics, standpoint theory, action-orientated research, and embedded, emotive and sincere participatory involvement. The design and methodological intent of the book is to embrace a "militant" form of inquiry which is counter to the project of securitization.