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Arbiters with guns: The ambiguity of military involvement in civilian disputes in the DR Congo
School of Global Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7702-2000
2014 (English)In: Third World Quarterly, ISSN 0143-6597, E-ISSN 1360-2241, Vol. 35, no 5, 803-820 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Based on extensive field research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), this article elucidates the logics, processes and readings surrounding certain ‘extra-military’ practices enacted by the Congolese army, namely the processing of various types of disputes between civilians. Exceeding the boundaries of the domain of ‘public security’, such activities are commonly categorised as ‘corruption’. Yet such labelling, founded on a supposed clear-cut public–private divide, obscures the underlying processes and logics, in particular the fact that these practices are located on a blurred public–private spectrum and result from both civilian demand and military imposition. Furthermore, popular readings of military involvement in civilian disputes are highly ambiguous, simultaneously representing it as ‘abnormal’ and ‘harmful’, and normalising it as ‘making sense’ – reflecting the militarised institutional environment and the weakness of civilian authorities in the eastern DR Congo. Strengthening these authorities will be vital for reducing this practice, which has an enkindling effect on the dynamics of conflict and violence

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 35, no 5, 803-820 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331057DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2014.921431OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331057DiVA: diva2:1148156
Projects
DR Congo; armed forces; civil–military relations; corruption; dispute processing; public–private divide
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2017-10-10

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