Ordinary Violence and Social Change in Africa

Jacky Bouju, Aix-Marseille University and Mirjam de Bruijn, Leiden University and African Studies Centre Leiden (eds.)

Ordinary social violence, – i.e. recurrent mental or physical aggression occurring between closely related people – structures social relationships in Africa, and in the world. Studies of violence in Africa often refer to ethnic wars and explicit conflicts and do not enter the hidden domain of violence that this book reveals through in-depth anthropological studies from different parts and contexts in Africa. Ordinary violence has its distinctive forms embedded in specific histories and cultures. It is gendered, implicates witchcraft accusations, varies in rural and urban contexts, relates to demographic and socio-economic changes of the past decades and is embedded in the everyday life of many African citizens. The experience of ordinary violence goes beyond the simple notion of victimhood; instead it structures social life and should therefore be a compelling part of the study of social change.

Jacky Bouju is associate professor at the Department of Anthropology at Aix-Marseille University and assistant director of Centre d’Études des Mondes Africains, Aix–en–Provence, France.Mirjam de Bruijn is professor in African Studies at Leiden University and senior researcher at the African Studies Centre Leiden. She has been publishing widely around the themes of mobility, crisis, uncertainty, agency and information and communication technology.

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Ordinary Violence in Africa
Jacky Bouju & Mirjam de Bruijn2. Changing Life Worlds and Contested Space: Seclusion Practices among the Iraqw of Northern Tanzania
Jonathan Baker & Hege Wallevik3. A Chain of Family and Domestic Violence: Extramarital Pregnancy and Social Rupture in Burkina Faso
Fatoumata Ouattara & Katerini Storeng

4.Social Violence and Gender Inequality: Mali’s Young Bambara Domestic Workers
Jacky Bouju

5. The Itinerant Koranic School: Contested Practice in the History of Religion and Society in Central Chad
Mirjam de Bruijn

6. Surviving Structural Violence in Zimbabwe. The Case Study of a Family Coping with Violence
Otrude N. Moyo

7. The Cyclical Exchange of Violence in Congolese Kinship Relations
Sylvie Ayimpam

8. Kill the Witch! Anti-witchcraft Violence in the Central African Republic
Aleksandra Cimpric

9. Violence Towards Street Children (Shegue) in Lumbumbashi (D.R.C.)
Olivier Kahola Tabu

10. The Literary Threads of Domestic Violence in Mali
Sébastien Le Potvin

Abstracts
Biographies
Bibliography