Menu Expand
Life after Violence

Life after Violence

Peter Uvin


Additional Information

Book Details


Burundi has recently emerged from twelve years of devastating civil war. Its economy has been destroyed and hundreds and thousands of people have been killed. In this book, the voices of ordinary Burundians are heard for the first time. Farmers, artisans, traders, mothers, soldiers and students talk about the past and the future, war and peace, their hopes for a better life and their relationships with each other and the state. Young men, in particular, often seen as the cause of violence and war, talk about the difficulties of living up to standards of masculinity in an impoverished and war-torn society. Weaving a rich tapestry, Peter Uvin pitches the ideas and aspirations of people on the ground against the theory and assumptions often made by the international development and peace-building agencies and organisations. In doing this, he illuminates both shared goals and misunderstandings. This groundbreaking book on conflict and society in Africa will have profound repercussions for development across the world.
Peter Uvin is the Henry J. Leir Professor of International Humanitarian Studies and Academic Dean at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. In recent years, his research and practice has dealt with the intersection between development aid, human rights, and conflict, mostly in the African Great Lakes region. His previous books include Human Rights and Development (2004) and Aiding Violence: The Development Enterprise in Rwanda (1989) which received the African Studies Association's Herskowits award for the most outstanding book on Africa in 1998. He spends a large amount of his time working for various agencies in the Great Lakes region.
'A unique and much-needed view from below. Peter Uvin gives a voice to Burundi's youth and offers refreshing and challenging new insights into conflict dynamics in the Great Lakes.' Filip Reyntjens, University of Antwerp 'Peter Uvin's book goes beyond the usual categorizations to reveal a much less romantic, more complex, more brutal and more hopeful image of society in Burundi. It presents a challenging local understanding of the different dimensions of the peacebuilding agenda, making it a thought-provoking must-read for anyone interested in the area' Beatrice Pouligny, Georgetown University 'Life After Violence is a hopeful book, one that makes a strong case for what would seem an elementary notion: If you want to launch a long-term effort to improve a society, you ought to know something about it' Washington Post

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the author i
Tables viii
Foreword ix
Introduction 1
PART I: Background 5
1 | A brief political history of Burundi 7
The pre-colonial period 7
The colonial period 8
The first few years of independence 8
1993 elections and the beginning of the crisis 11
The war and the negotiations 15
From the transition period to the elections 17
The elections and after 20
Table 1.1 Election results, 2005 21
Synthesizing and looking ahead 22
2 | Methodology and location 26
Interviews 26
Sampling 28
Table 2.1 Rural sample by category 31
Table 2.2 Urban sample by category 32
Table 2.3 Sample by age 33
Location 36
PART II: The view from below 41
3 | Peace and war as read in Burundi 43
What does peace mean to Burundians? The overall data 44
Table 3.1 Definitions of peace 45
Security now 54
4 | ‘If I were in charge here’: Burundians on respect, corruption, and the state 58
Citizenship 58
Table 4.1 Respect and the rule of law 59
The institution of bashingantahe 62
Corruption 66
Historical interlude: long-term changes in people’s attitudes toward governance and corruption 69
Conclusion 77
5 | Hard work and prostitution: the capitalist ethos in crisis 81
Changes since time of parents: long-term trends 81
Table 5.1 General trends 83
Education 86
Table 5.2 Education per category, in years, by region 87
Migration 92
Social mobility 98
Table 5.3 Discussions, and explanations, of men’s marginal behavior 101
Table 5.4 Discussions, and explanations, of women’s marginal behavior 101
Hard work and perseverance 105
Good management and responsibility 107
Dynamism 107
Illegal means 108
Help, self-help, mutual help 109
Table 5.5 Answers to the ‘who helps you’ question, by area 110
Conclusion: Burundi is a capitalist paradise 116
6 | ‘I want to marry a dynamic girl’: changing gender expectations in Burundi 123
Marriage 124
Table 6.1 Traditional expectations of young men and young women 134
Moving away from traditional expectations 136
Table 6.2 Expectations of young men and young women: frequency of responses 137
Conclusion 141
7 | Justice, silence, and social capital 145
Prosecution and truth-telling 147
Table 7.1 Attitudes toward entente 163
Conclusion 168
8 | Conclusion 171
War 171
Masculinity and violence 178
Gender 181
Peace 183
Development 185
Governance 187
Notes 190
1 A brief political history 190
2 Methodology and location 190
3 Peace and war 190
4 Respect, corruption, and the state 191
5 Hard work and prostitution 191
6 Changing gender expectations 192
7 Justice, silence, and social capital 192
8 Conclusion 193
Bibliography 195
Index 205