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.