Demobilising Mindsets: Ideas and Ideology after War. A Case Study on Rwandan FDLR Rebels. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Since 2001 several thousand Rwandan FDLR rebels (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda), active in the east of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), have been demobilised and repatriated to Rwanda. The FDLR rebels that emerged in the year 2000 from the Hutu refugee community in DRC are known to foster a strong "Hutu" ideology, rooted in the ideational tradition of pre-genocide Rwanda. It revolves around ethnic antagonism and emphasizes a deeply pronounced Hutu victimisation by the Tutsi. This ideology stands diametrically opposed to the one the current, Tutsi-dominated RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) government under President Paul Kagame has established and imposed in post-genocide Rwanda. By returning to Rwanda, the FDLR members thus not only cross a national border, but an ideological one as well. Our research aims to understand how demobilised and repatriated FDLR members navigate between these "old" and "new" ideational frameworks at work in Rwanda's past and present. We will study whether, how and why the exposure to the "new" ideology has changed – reversed, weakened or reinforced – "old" ideas, beliefs and mindsets. In this way, we aim to contribute to the academic literature on post-genocide Rwanda from a bottom-up perspective; to push the theoretical understanding of the role of ideology in and after violent conflict; and to develop appropriate research approaches and techniques to study the demobilization of mindsets.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Making refugee integration sustainable: in search of durable relations with host populations in Uganda. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

A sustainable relationship between host and refugees is essential to guarantee the social and political stability of countries and regions. Uganda is known to be hosting one of the largest refugee populations in the world. This project aims to contribute to a better understanding and facilitate policy interventions that can ameliorate social relations between hosts and refugees. This will be done by (1) developing innovative research approaches studying conflict trajectories (escalation vs. mediation); (2) structurally improve and strengthen the research capabilities (e.g. methodological skills) at Ugandan partner institution (students, PhDs and staff mem-bers); (3) propel the Southern Partner (MUST) and its staff into a recognized leader regarding high quality re-search on forced displacement; (4) translate findings to policy makers through participation of international and national NGOs and Ugandan authorities (national/local).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Ethnicity after mass violence. A study of the nature and transformation of ethnic 'groupness' in Rwanda and Burundi. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Despite the slogan 'never again', the world continues to be plagued by violence that is groupselective and aimed at the extermination of people belonging to certain social categories. This type of mass categorical violence often has an ethnic dimension involving members of majority and minority groups . Popular wisdom seems to be that ethnicity – or the emotional sense of belonging to a specific group and distinction from or even antipathy to outsiders – is the source of this type of violence. This research project aims to empirically demonstrate that this hypothesis is wrong. Instead, based on what is called a constructivist account of ethnicity, the proposed research activities aim to demonstrate that the salience of ethnicity is the outcome of mass categorical violence not its underlying cause. In addition, the research activities aim to verify whether, to what extent and why the salience of ethnicity following mass categorical violence is declining. To do so, the research project will examine 'ways of seeing the world' (cognition) and 'ways of acting in the world' (behavior). The former will be studied by making use of an available and unique database of over 700 life histories from people that experienced mass categorical violence in two case study countries: Rwanda and Burundi. The latter will be examined through the in-depth study of the daily behavior of a number of these individuals carefully selected based on an analysis of the available life history dataset.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Perceptions of the Self and the Other in contemporary Burundi. The salience of ethnicity in everyday interactions in a post-transition context. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

Since independence (1962), the 'ethnic' conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi led to thousands of deaths on both sides. In 2000, the signature of the Arusha peace agreement inaugurated a transition period towards peace and democracy. Thanks to the agreement, political competition was de-ethnicized, and political parties no longer represented a single ethnic group. At the local level, people could progressively return to their occupations. Despite the absence of violence, these people had to deal with the consequences of war and ethnic violence. Given the circumstances of poverty, most of them opted for a peaceful cohabitation with those who perpetrated violence. The results obtained so far have been undermined by the 2015 crisis, which followed President Nkurunziza's unconstitutional bid for the third term. During the crisis, ethnic hatred has been injected in the political discourse, and started circulating in some milieus. Some responsiveness to ethnic appeals still existed. The question is whether, to what extent and how ordinary citizens are responsive to such discourses. Our research aims to understand the meaning and salience of ethnicity in Burundi's contemporary socio-political context. This will contribute to a better understanding of ethnicity, and will illuminate the dynamics of change in the meaning and salience of ethnicity. This will be relevant for scholars and policy-makers concerned with similar dynamics in other post-transition countries.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Ethnicity after mass violence. A study of the nature and transformation of ethnic 'groupness' in Rwanda and Burundi. 01/04/2019 - 30/03/2020

Abstract

Despite the slogan 'never again', the world continues to be plagued by violence that is group-selective and aimed at the extermination of people belonging to certain social categories. This type of mass categorical violence often has an ethnic dimension involving members of majority and minority groups . Popular wisdom seems to be that ethnicity – or the emotional sense of belonging to a specific group and distinction from or even antipathy to outsiders – is the source of this type of violence. This research project aims to empirically demonstrate that this hypothesis is wrong. Instead, based on what is called a constructivist account of ethnicity, the proposed research activities aim to demonstrate that the salience of ethnicity is the outcome of mass categorical violence not its underlying cause. In addition, the research activities aim to verify whether, to what extent and why the salience of ethnicity following mass categorical violence is declining. To do so, the research project will examine 'ways of seeing the world' (cognition) and 'ways of acting in the world' (behavior). The former will be studied by making use of an available and unique database of over 700 life histories from people that experienced mass categorical violence in two case study countries: Rwanda and Burundi. The latter will be examined through the in-depth study of the daily behavior of a number of these individuals carefully selected based on an analysis of the available life history dataset.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Demobilising Mindsets: Ideas and Ideology after War. A Case Study on Rwandan FDLR Rebels. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Since 2001 several thousand Rwandan FDLR rebels (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda), active in the east of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), have been demobilised and repatriated to Rwanda. The FDLR rebels that emerged in the year 2000 from the Hutu refugee community in DRC are known to foster a strong "Hutu" ideology, rooted in the ideational tradition of pre-genocide Rwanda. It revolves around ethnic antagonism and emphasizes a deeply pronounced Hutu victimisation by the Tutsi. This ideology stands diametrically opposed to the one the current, Tutsi-dominated RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) government under President Paul Kagame has established and imposed in post-genocide Rwanda. By returning to Rwanda, the FDLR members thus not only cross a national border, but an ideological one as well. Our research aims to understand how demobilised and repatriated FDLR members navigate between these "old" and "new" ideational frameworks at work in Rwanda's past and present. We will study whether, how and why the exposure to the "new" ideology has changed – reversed, weakened or reinforced – "old" ideas, beliefs and mindsets. In this way, we aim to contribute to the academic literature on post-genocide Rwanda from a bottom-up perspective; to push the theoretical understanding of the role of ideology in and after violent conflict; and to develop appropriate research approaches and techniques to study the demobilization of mindsets.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Perceptions of the Self and the Other in contemporary Burundi. The salience of ethnicity in everyday interactions in a post-transition context 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

Since independence (1962), the 'ethnic' conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi led to thousands of deaths on both sides. In 2000, the signature of the Arusha peace agreement inaugurated a transition period towards peace and democracy. Thanks to the agreement, political competition was de-ethnicized, and political parties no longer represented a single ethnic group. At the local level, people could progressively return to their occupations. Despite the absence of violence, these people had to deal with the consequences of war and ethnic violence. Given the circumstances of poverty, most of them opted for a peaceful cohabitation with those who perpetrated violence. The results obtained so far have been undermined by the 2015 crisis, which followed President Nkurunziza's unconstitutional bid for the third term. During the crisis, ethnic hatred has been injected in the political discourse, and started circulating in some milieus. Some responsiveness to ethnic appeals still existed. The question is whether, to what extent and how ordinary citizens are responsive to such discourses. Our research aims to understand the meaning and salience of ethnicity in Burundi's contemporary socio-political context. This will contribute to a better understanding of ethnicity, and will illuminate the dynamics of change in the meaning and salience of ethnicity. This will be relevant for scholars and policy-makers concerned with similar dynamics in other post-transition countries.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Everyday justice and security provision for displaced and residents in Bukavu, DRC. 01/10/2017 - 30/11/2017

Abstract

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country in which prolonged insecurity has caused long-term and cyclical displacement, especially in the east. Most Congolese flee to host communities within their own country. Bukavu is one of the cities in Congo that receives large numbers of displaced people. This research looks at the consequences of migration in terms of the justice and security concerns in the host communities, both for newcomers and for longer-term residents. The project will further analyse already collected qualitative and quantitative data and build on these data. Findings will be used to set up stakeholder consultations with policy-makers and practitioners at local, national, and international levels. Key responsibilities of the UAntwerpen: • To support the project coordinator in the data management of the project; • To conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of collected data, making use of Atlas.ti and SPSS; • To carry out qualitative interviews with international actors involved in justice and security policy and programming in the DRC; • To support the project coordinator in the organization of a workshop in the Netherlands; • To coordinate and execute internal and external project communication.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Expanding horizons - Secondary towns and rural-urban migration in Tanzania. 01/07/2017 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

In accordance with you TOR of 16 June, we offer to provide consulting services to build on the draft paper "Expanding horizons – Secondary towns and rural-urban migration in Tanzania". We will further explore the life histories to reflect on the role villages of origin play as safety net and its implications for migration decisions and destination choices, as well as the underlying (qualitative/quantitative) factors (initial conditions, destination characteristics and shocks, and their interactions) shaping the likelihood of different migration trajectories (linear to the city, ladder migration, churning, return migration). The consultancy will reflect the emerging insights from this body of work in a blog series of 3 blogs for the World Bank Jobs and Development Blog series. We will further produce two short notes reflecting 1) the emerging insights on the role of villages as safety nets for migration and destination choice and 2) the factors shaping migration trajectories. We will also present the findings in a BBL at the World Bank.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The impact of mass violence op trust, security and political representation. 01/04/2017 - 31/03/2018

Abstract

Little is known about the impact of war, mass violence and other instances of state-sponsored violence on what is often captured under the umbrella term "(informal) institutions". Understanding the (long-term) impact of wartime violence on these institutional and social processes is key for our understanding of a society's postwar recovery, transformation and, ultimately, development. This project seeks to understand what factors shape people's differential experience of human security, trust and political participation over time by analyzing hundreds of life history narratives and trajectories from individuals living in countries (case studies Rwanda and Burundi) that experienced large-scale violence in the recent past.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

The impact of mass violence and post-conflict recovery on social mobility. Exploring the nature and underlying drivers of social transformation in Rwanda and Burundi. Fieldwork in Burundi. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The overall objective is to understand social mobility in a post-conflict context. I will study the extent and differential nature of social mobility: whether, how and why individuals and households move up, move down or remain immobile. I use both a narrow and a broad concept of social mobility. In a narrow sense, social mobility is defined as the (perceived) movement in (socio-) economic position over time of individuals, households and/or social categories. An enlarged conception of social mobility also encompasses the changing experience and perceptions of security, trust and political participation/representation over time, which are all highly relevant in a post-conflict setting.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Finding Durable Solutions for Old Refugee Case-Ioads in Nakivale Settlement - Mbarara District. 15/12/2014 - 14/12/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The impact of mass violence and post-conflict recovery on social mobility. Exploring the nature and underlying drivers of social transformation in Rwanda and Burundi. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The overall objective is to understand social mobility in a post-conflict context. I will study the extent and differential nature of social mobility: whether, how and why individuals and households move up, move down or remain immobile. I use both a narrow and a broad concept of social mobility.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

An Anthropological and Micro-Level Exploration of Rwanda's Conflict Cycle with a Focus on Shifting Cleavages and Changing Identities in (1980-2010). 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

Through an analysis of popular practices and perceptions of socio-political change in the context of (past) violent conflict does the research seek to understand how a variety of donor-driven and state-sanctioned implementation processes aimed at conflict resolution and prevention interact with localized lifeworlds and the agency of local actors. Rwanda is the case-study country, villages & households are units of analysis.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)