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Title: Political projects of unity in divided communities : discourse and performance of "Ubumwe" in post-genocide Rwanda
Author: Purdeková, Andrea
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 2936
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The present thesis explores the politics of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda by focusing on one of its little-studied aspects— the government-led project of ‘unity building.’ To uncover the type of unit(ies) that are actually produced (not just officially envisioned), the analysis operates at three interconnected levels— i) at the level of the discourse of unity and reconciliation (studying its proper logic in addition to the ways in which it is shaped/structured by other discourses, such as security or prosperity/development); ii) at the level of concrete strategies and policies; and finally iii) at the level of ‘enaction’ through a score of official (and purportedly ‘local’ and ‘traditional’) activities. Many of the activities considered here have received no in-depth study. The official activities are explored both in toto and through an in in-depth analysis of one key exemplar – the ingando camps – transitory and transient spaces of re-education/sensitisation and reintegration tailored for selected segments of the population. The thesis demonstrates the ways in which the process of kubaka ubumwe / unity-building is profoundly politicised. Detailed attention is paid to exposing the way in which i) political dynamics affect the very conception of ‘unity’ and ‘reconciliation;’ ii) the manner in which power and the state mould unity and reconciliation activities, determining what can be achieved through them (or not); and finally iii) the ways in which the government appropriates the whole unity-building process for other than stated aims. The research shows how unity is shaped to imply consent, homogeneity and non-dissension, thus serving specific governmentality goals in the highly controlling environment of the authoritarian state (producing docile and legible subjects). Furthermore, the thesis shows how the process of unity and reconciliation is subsumed to the broader social engineering project of the state aimed at shaping citizens’ ‘mentalities’ and at their transformation into ‘perfect development subjects.’
Supervisor: Purdeková, Andrea ; Daley, Patricia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Governance in Africa ; National identity ; Conflict ; Rwanda ; reconciliation ; nation-building ; post-genocide ; governance in Africa