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Title: Young people's experiences of, and means of coping with, violence in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Author: Seymour, Claudia Lucia
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an interdisciplinary exploration of young people’s experiences of and means of coping with violence in the provinces of North and South Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It engages with psychological resilience theory, the anthropology of violence, and structural analyses drawn from sociology to explore how young people cope with their experiences of violence. It establishes an analytical framework based on a ‘structures of violence’ perspective, through which young people’s processes of coping are examined at the individual level, as well as through social relations, political processes and the international political economy in which young people are embedded. By examining young people’s individual coping mechanisms, the thesis demonstrates how coping tactics may be effective in the short term, but may lead to longer term risks. Considering how social support networks have been transformed by violence, the thesis demonstrates how patronage relationships remain an essential aspect of young people’s coping processes, even as they reinforce their positions of weakness and dependence. Through an analysis of processes of meaning attribution, the thesis also considers how identity-based, victim-perpetrator discourses and blame can serve a psychologically protective role in helping young people make sense of violence, even as these meanings contribute to the conservation of violence. Finally, the thesis critiques international child protection responses, showing how morally-driven international interventions which valorise vulnerability and victimhood contribute to strengthening the structures of violence in the Kivus. The qualitative methodological approach used for this research has relied primarily on the documentation of young people’s narratives and participant observation; data was collected from more than 300 young people during fieldwork which was conducted in 2010 and 2011. The research has additionally been influenced by the author’s experience of living and working in the Kivus between 2006 and 2011.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral