This project investigates the socialization processes that (re-)configure (violent) security practices occurring in the civil wars of Central Africa. It aims to understand the socialization (or adaptation) of security practices between community members and armed groups (local and foreign) on one side but also to study how these processes take place (what structures, standards, values) within different social classes in eastern Congo, a region characterized by insecurity and inter-community disputes, coupled with the involvement of foreign armed groups including. The project focuses on the areas of the Hauts Plateaux of Uvira, Fizi, and Mwenga (South Kivu province) as well as Djugu territory (in Ituri Province). Few studies have thus far addressed such processes of socializing violent security practices in the context of Central Africa’s civil wars in the past decades. This study, therefore, aims to examine how and in what context local communities are affected by violent conflicts, how these communities are mobilized within semi-autonomous – armed – social spaces (M’Munga, 2018), as well as how they then contribute to enacting and perpetuating violent practices themselves. By exploring the relationships and interactions between non-state, state, customary (armed) actors as well as foreign non-state armed actors and their respective social spaces in each area, this study fills a critical gap in studies on rebel governance, militarization by applying a Bourdieusian lens that looks social fields and habitus formation in the realm of safety practices. Such a perspective will help us better understand how violent practices are shaped and consolidated and contribute to the nature and durability of civil war.

  • Funded by: Special Research Fund (BOF), Ghent University
  • Time period: 2020-2024
  • People Involved: Josaphat Musamba (PhD Researcher), Koen Vlassenroot (Supervisor), Gilles Dorronsoro (Supervisor, Sciences Pô / Paris Sorbonne), Godefroid Muzalia (Supervisor, GEC – SH / CERUKI ISP Bukavu)