Negotiating relationships in transition: war, famine, and embodied accountability in Mozambique

Igreja, Victor (2019) Negotiating relationships in transition: war, famine, and embodied accountability in Mozambique. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 61 (4). pp. 774-804. ISSN 0010-4175

Abstract

In conflict-ridden communities, justice specialists gather evidence through verbal accounts and material vestiges of violations committed by repressive regimes and during warfare, to eventually lay legal charges against alleged perpetrators. Anthropologists and sociologists engage with similar contexts but have included conventional bodily rituals, routinized practices, and commemoration practices as sources of knowledge of violent pasts and struggles for historical justice, although without the intention of determining legal accountability. This article shifts from the prevailing focus on repressive regimes and warfare to analyze the famine continuum and expands the procedures for gathering evidence of violations. It shows how, in one Mozambique community, a contingent combination of singular bodily actions, collective imagination and negotiations, and kinship norms evolved and became instrumental in two ways: contested fragments of evidence of violations perpetrated during the experiences of the 1980s famine were refined, and local struggles for accountability conveyed through bodily actions were sustained. The ensuing embodied accountability reshaped relationships by overcoming silence and denial, exposing ordinary perpetrators of violations, and cementing memories of guilt in the landscape. To capture the diversity of legacies of violations marred by fragile evidence, we must be attentive to the versatility of singular bodily actions. We need to consider the multiplicity of meanings, contexts, and perpetrators and how those in conflict zones struggle with embodied accountability.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 March 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 March 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2020 04:31
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2020 04:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: drought, famine, human rights violations, bodily actions, embodied accountability, singular events, imagination, civil war trauma, collective guilt, transitional justice, Mozambique
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210310 Middle Eastern and African History
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1899 Other Law and Legal Studies > 189999 Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160607 International Relations
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220208 History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9403 International Relations > 940302 International Aid and Development
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1017/S0010417519000264
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37905

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