New Books on Violence – Women Suicide Bombers / Violence in Post-Conflict Societies / Micro-Sociology of Violence

– Julie Rajan, Women Suicide Bombers. Narratives of Violence, Routledge Critical Terrorism Studies,  April 2011

Publisher’s comments:

This book offers an evaluation of female suicide bombers through postcolonial, Third World, feminist, and human-rights framework, drawing on case studies from conflicts in Palestine, Sri Lanka, and Chechnya, among others.

Women Suicide Bombers explores why cultural, media and political reports from various geographies present different information about and portraits of the same women suicide bombers. The majority of Western media and sovereign states engaged in wars against groups deploying bombings tend to focus on women bombers’ abnormal mental conditions; their physicality-for example, their painted fingernails or their beautiful eyes; their sexualities; and the various ways in which they have been victimized by their backward Third World cultures, especially by “Islam.” In contrast, propaganda produced by rebel groups deploying women bombers, cultures supporting those campaigns, and governments of those nations at war with sovereign states and Western nations tend to project women bombers as mythical heroes, in ways that supersedes the martyrdom operations of male bombers.

Many of the books published on this phenomenon have revealed interesting ways to read women bombers’ subjectivities, but do not explore the phenomenon of women bombers both inside and outside of their militant activities, or against the patriarchal, Orientalist, and Western feminist cultural and theoretical frameworks that label female bombers primarily as victims of backward cultures. In contrast, this book offers a corrective lens to the existing discourse, and encourages a more balanced evaluation of women bombers in contemporary conflict.

– Andres Themner, Violence in Post-Conflict Societies. Remarginalization, Remobilizers and Relationships,  Routledge Studies in Intervention and Statebuilding’ Series, May 2011

Synopsis:

This book compares post-civil war societies to look at the presence or absence of organized violence, analysing why some ex-combatants return to organised violence and others do not. Even though former fighters have been identified as a major source of insecurity, there have been few efforts to systematically examine why some ex-combatants re-engage in organized violence, while others do not. This book compares the presence or absence of organized violence in different ex-combatant communities — former fighters that used to belong to the same armed faction and who share a common, horizontal identity based on shared war-and peacetime experiences — in the Republic of Congo (ex-Cobras, Cocoyes and Ninjas) and Sierra Leone (ex-Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, Civil Defense Force and Revolutionary United Front). The main determinants of ex-combatant violence are whether former fighters have access to elites and to second-tier individuals — such as former mid-level commanders — who can act as intermediaries between the two. By utilizing relationships based on selective incentives and social networks, these two kinds of remobilizers are able to generate the needed enticements and feelings of affinity, trust or fear to convince ex-combatants to resort to arms. These findings demonstrate that the outbreak of ex-combatant violence can only be understood by more clearly incorporating an actor perspective, focusing on three levels of analysis: the elite, midlevel and grass-root. This book will be of much interest to students of peacebuilding, civil wars, post-conflict reconstruction, war and conflict studies, security studies and IR.

– Jutta Bakonyi (Ed), A Micro-Sociology of Violence. Deciphering Patterns and Dynamics of Collective Violence   December 2011

Description:

This book aims at a deeper understanding of social processes, dynamics and institutions shaping collective violence. It argues that violence is a social practice that adheres to social logics and, in its collective form, appears as recurrent patterns. In search of characteristics, mechanisms and logics of violence, contributions deliver ethnographic descriptions of different forms of collective violence and contextualize these phenomena within broader spatial and temporal structures. The studies show that collective violence, at least if it is sustained over a certain period of time, aims at organization and therefore develops constitutive and integrative mechanisms. Practices of social mobilization of people and economic resources, their integration in functional structures, and the justification or legitimization of these structures sooner or later lead to the establishment of new forms of (violent) orders, be it at the margins of or beyond the state. Cases discussed include riots in Gujarat, India, mass violence in Somalia, social orders of violence and non-violence in Colombia, humanitarian camps in Uganda, trophy-taking in North America, and violent livestock raiding in Kenya.This book was originally published as a special issue of Civil Wars.

 Contents:

1. Deciphering the Mosaic’s Tesserae: A Micro-Sociology of Violence Jutta Bakonyi and Berit Bliesemann de Guevara 2. Rioting as Maintaining Relations: Hindu-Muslim Violence and Political Mediation in Gujarat, India Ward Berenschot 3. Moral Economies of Mass Violence: Somalia 1988-1991 Jutta Bakonyi 4. Displacing, Returning, and Pilgrimaging: The Construction of Social Orders of Violence and Non-violence in Colombia Nora-Christine Braun 5. Humanitarianism, Violence, and the Camp in Northern Uganda Adam Branch 6. ‘Transgressive Objects’ in America: Mimesis and Violence in the Collection of Trophies during the Nineteenth Century Indian Wars Cora Bender 7. Of Rains and Raids: Violent Lifestock Raiding in Northern Kenya Karen M. Witsenburg and Adano R. Wario


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