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From Autochthony to Violence? Discursive and Coercive Social Practices of the Mai-Mai in Fizi, Eastern DR Congo

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2015

Abstract:

This article explores the links between autochthony discourses and physical violence through a case study of a Mai-Mai group in the eastern DR Congo. While this group garners support by employing such discourses and related tropes of autodéfense (self-defense), there are clear limits to the capacity of these narratives to mobilize for and legitimize violent action. Furthermore, much of the violence committed by the Mai-Mai is not informed directly by notions of autochthony, but is rather geared toward the consolidation of power. This observation should act as a caution against the a priori coding of violence according to the ways it is discursively framed by its protagonists.

Résumé:

Cet article explore les liens entre les discours d’autochtonie et la violence physique à partir de l’étude de cas d’un groupe Mai-Mai dans l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo. Alors que ce groupe recueille un soutien favorable en employant de tels discours d’autodéfense, utilisant aussi des tropes associées, la capacité de ces récits à mobiliser et à légitimer l'action violente atteint cependant des limites évidentes. En outre, une grande partie des violences commises par les Maï-Maï ne repose pas directement sur la notion d'autochtonie, mais est plutôt orientée vers la consolidation du pouvoir. Ce constat devrait agir comme une mise en garde contre l’élaboration à priori de schémas de codification de violence d’après des narrations construites par leurs protagonistes.

Type
ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 2015 

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