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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"We live in war": An Ambivalent Everyday in eastern DRC

  • Author(s): Niehuus, Rachel Marie
  • Advisor(s): Whitmarsh, Ian
  • et al.

In this dissertation, I argue that in eastern Congo, war is not lived as rupture, as a project that, once accomplished, will end. Instead, violence is understood to be an enduring force that is deeply imbricated in social life and political and economic attachment. It follows then that, in the context of a violent history and an uncertain present, life is not that which comes into being after war, when the cessation of spectacular violence allows the resumption of everyday practices, the recommencement of ordinary routines. Instead, where violence is inescapably ordinary, war is experienced as an injurious, constitutive, and ambivalent force. The lives it shapes are neither determined by nor devoid of mourning, but, as elsewhere in the world, characterized by pleasure and pain, intimacy and fear, bitterness and beauty. An ethnographic exploration of a particular experience of war in North Kivu, DRC, this dissertation is an account of these lives.

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