University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events > CGHR Research Group: ‘This man does not even know the meaning of peace': conflicting understandings of peace and legitimate violence in Gulu, northern Uganda

CGHR Research Group: ‘This man does not even know the meaning of peace': conflicting understandings of peace and legitimate violence in Gulu, northern Uganda

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Annette LaRocco.

Current thinking concerning transitions to peace after war tends either to reduce peace to the crude absence of violence or render it as a holistic phenomenon that it is blurred with normative understandings of wider socio-political struggle and transformation. Instead, through analysis of conversations on peace and violence in contemporary northern Uganda, this paper claims that what defines a transition from war to peace is the extent to which a society shares an understanding of what constitutes legitimate violence. It demonstrates the stark discord amongst the inhabitants of Gulu on the extent and ‘meaning’ of peace, and argues that if peace is constructed and imagined across society, then this marked discrepancy is analogous to the absence of peace itself, despite the silence of the guns. By breaking down this conversation over peace, it becomes possible to reveal the substance of these disagreements as conflicting understandings of what constitutes legitimate violence, such as differing stances on wartime violence, rather than debates over the entire social and political order. As such it may be possible to salvage a distinct non-normative understanding of transitions between war and peace where they are defined by shifts between dissensus and consensus on what constitutes legitimate violence.

The University of Cambridge Centre of Governance and Human Rights Research Group is a forum for graduate students and early-career researchers from any department and disciplinary background researching issues of governance and human rights in the global, regional, and national contexts. This is an excellent opportunity to receive cross-disciplinary feedback, to produce a published CGHR Working Paper with editorial help, and to meet and network with student and academic researchers.

Call for Papers

We are looking to confirm presenters for coming terms. To present a paper or for more information on the research group, please contact the convenor, Annette LaRocco, aal33@cam.ac.uk

More about the CGHR Research Group: http://www.cghr.polis.cam.ac.uk/events/research_group

This talk is part of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events series.

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