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Perceptions of the Self and the Other in contemporary Burundi. The salience of ethnicity in everyday interactions in a post-transition context

Since independence (1962), the 'ethnic' conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi led to thousands of deaths on both sides. In 2000, the signature of the Arusha peace agreement inaugurated a transition period towards peace and democracy. Thanks to the agreement, political competition was de-ethnicized, and political parties no longer represented a single ethnic group. At the local level, people could progressively return to their occupations. Despite the absence of violence, these people had to deal with the consequences of war and ethnic violence. Given the circumstances of poverty, most of them opted for a peaceful cohabitation with those who perpetrated violence. The results obtained so far have been undermined by the 2015 crisis, which followed President Nkurunziza's unconstitutional bid for the third term. During the crisis, ethnic hatred has been injected in the political discourse, and started circulating in some milieus. Some responsiveness to ethnic appeals still existed. The question is whether, to what extent and how ordinary citizens are responsive to such discourses. Our research aims to understand the meaning and salience of ethnicity in Burundi's contemporary socio-political context. This will contribute to a better understanding of ethnicity, and will illuminate the dynamics of change in the meaning and salience of ethnicity. This will be relevant for scholars and policy-makers concerned with similar dynamics in other post-transition countries.
Date:1 Oct 2017 →  30 Sep 2019
Disciplines:Economic development, innovation, technological change and growth, Anthropology, Social change, Other social sciences, Archaeology