Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Living by the gun in Chad: armed violence as a practical occupation*

  • Marielle Debos (a1)

Abstract

This article explores men in arms’ conceptions of armed violence in a country which has been prone to a violent cycle of rebellion and repression. Based on ethnographic research in Chad, it analyses combatants’ life trajectories in an unstable political environment and a militarised economy. It moves beyond rebellion towards an analysis of the most mundane patterns of the activities conducted by men in arms, to understand what is at stake beyond times and spaces of war. It argues that armed violence is an ordinary way of expressing contestation, as well as a practical occupation or métier, a French word that indicates a non-institutionalised profession.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All
*

This article was written while the author was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Research was supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship sponsored by the European Commission. It is a contribution to a research programme on the transformations of war funded by the French National Agency for Research (ANR). The author would like to thank Xavier Bougarel, Joshua Craze, Christine Deslaurier, Mariane Ferme, Amélie Le Renard and Louisa Lombard, for their precious comments on earlier drafts.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Amnesty International (AI). 2008. Double Misfortune: deepening of human rights crisis in Chad. London: AI.
Bayart, J.-F. 1993. The State in Africa: the politics of the belly. London: Longman.
Bøås, M. & Dunn, K. C., eds. 2007. African Guerrillas: raging against the machine. Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner.
Buijtenhuijs, R. 1987. Le Frolinat et les Guerres Civiles du Tchad, 1977–1984: la révolution introuvable. Paris: Karthala.
Charlton, R. & May., R. 1989. ‘Warlords and militarism in Chad’, Review of African Political Economy 45–6: 1225.
Clapham, C., ed. 1998. African Guerrillas. Oxford: James Currey.
de Certeau, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
de Waal, A. 2009. ‘Mission without end? Peacekeeping in the African political marketplace’, International Affairs 85, 1: 99114.
Debos, M. 2008a. ‘Les limites de l'accumulation par les armes: itinéraires d'ex-combattants au Tchad’, Politique Africaine 109: 167–81.
Debos, M. 2008b. ‘Fluid loyalties in a regional crisis: Chadian combatants in the Central African Republic’, African Affairs 107, 427: 225–41.
Debos, M. 2009. ‘Chad: 1900–1960’, in Sémelin, J., ed. Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, available at: http://www.massviolence.org/Chad-1900-1960?cs=print.
Ferme, M. 2001. The Underneath of Things: violence, history and the everyday in Sierra Leone. Berkeley & Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Geffray, C. 1990. La Cause des Armes au Mozambique. Paris: Karthala.
Green, L. 1999. Fear as a Way of Life: Mayan widow in rural Guatemala. New York: Columbia University Press.
Hoffman, D. 2007. ‘The meaning of a militia: understanding the Civil Defence Forces of Sierra Leone’, African Affairs 106, 425: 639–62.
Hoffman, D. 2011. ‘Violence, just in time: war and work in Contemporary West Africa’, Cultural Anthropology 26, 1: 3457.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2005. Chad: the victims of Hissène Habré still awaiting justice. New York: HRW 17, 10 (A).
Kaplan, R. 1994. ‘The coming anarchy’, The Atlantic Monthly, February: 4476.
Lemarchand, R. 1986. ‘Chad: the misadventures of the North–South dialectic’, African Studies Review 29, 3: 2741.
Marchal, R. 2008. ‘The roots of the Darfur conflict and the Chadian civil war’, Public Culture 20, 3: 429–36.
Mbembe, A. 2005. ‘Sovereignty as a form of expenditure’, in Hansen, T. Blom & Stepputat, F., eds. Sovereign Bodies: citizens, migrants, and states in the postcolonial world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 148–68.
Nolutshungu, S. 1996. Limits of Anarchy: intervention and state formation in Chad. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.
Reyna, S. 1990. Wars Without End: the political economy of a precolonial African state. Hanover, NH: New England University Press.
Richards, P. 1996. Fighting for the Rain Forest: war, youth and resources in Sierra Leone. Oxford: James Currey.
Richards, P., ed. 2005. No Peace No War: an anthropology of contemporary armed conflicts. Oxford: James Currey.
Roitman, J. 2005. Fiscal Disobedience: an anthropology of economic regulation in Central Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Saïbou, I. 2010. Les Coupeurs de Route: histoire du banditisme rural et transfrontalier dans le bassin du lac Tchad. Paris: Karthala.
Scheper-Hughes, N. 1997. ‘Peace-time crimes’, Social Identities 3, 3: 126.
Tubiana, J. 2008. ‘The Chad–Sudan proxy war and the ‘Darfurisation’ of Chad: myths and reality’, Working Paper 12, Small Arms Survey, Geneva: HSBA.
Utas, M. 2005. ‘Victimcy, girlfriending, soldiering: tactical agency in a young woman's social navigation of the Liberian war zone’, Anthropological Quarterly 78, 2: 403–30.
Vigh, H. 2006. Navigating Terrains of War: youth and soldiering in Guinea-Bissau. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Vigh, H. 2009. ‘Conflictual motion and political inertia: on rebellions and revolutions in Bissau and beyond’, African Studies Review 52, 2: 143–64.
Weinstein, J. 2006. Inside Rebellion: the politics of insurgent violence. Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed