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Über dieses Buch

This book investigates the relationships between political violence, social violence and economic violence using examples from South Africa, Northern Ireland, Lebanon and Syria. It examines the cultural impact of war and argues that a culture of violence can explain the high levels of violence which are frequently found in post-war societies.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Abstract
Sometime in the 1990s, a mural appeared on a wall in an affluent residential suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. This was at a time when South Africa was making its transition from the low-intensity conflict which characterised the last decades of Apartheid, to peace and democracy. The words ‘From Pieces to Peace’ were painted in large letters above the silhouettes of people holding hands against an urban scene in the background. The image, the words and the dawn colours of purple, orange and yellow encapsulated the pride, relief and optimism about the future that characterised the national mood in South Africa at the time. But 15 years later, an electric fence had been erected on the wall to keep burglars out, the mural had faded in the harsh African sunlight, the paint had flaked and a large crack appeared in the wall. ‘From Pieces to Peace’ was literally falling back to pieces again.
Christina Steenkamp

1. Violence

Abstract
At first glance, Liberia and Guatemala do not have much in common: one is a country with 4 million inhabitants on the west coast of Africa, whilst the other has a population of 15 million and lies in Central America. Due to their different geographical positions and colonial histories, the cultural, historical, political, economic and social differences between them are vast. Yet, they share two important similarities: both have experienced prolonged periods of civil war in recent years and both continue to exhibit alarmingly high levels of violence since the wars have ended.
Christina Steenkamp

2. Political Violence and War

Abstract
The atrocities which accompanied the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Rwandan genocide in the mid-1990s provided a major boost to the burgeoning post-Cold War interest in the outbreak and resolution of intra-state conflicts, especially where ethnic identity played a role. A new approach to understanding civil wars emerged in this context, which argued that contemporary, post-Cold War wars constitute a significantly different phenomenon from preceding wars. In fact, its proponents argued, war is now so different in its qualities and frequency, that it is altogether a ‘new’ type of war. The debate that ensued took issue with the ‘new wars’ theories’ claims about the novelty of contemporary warfare and dominated much of the literature on civil wars over the past 15 years.
Christina Steenkamp

3. Economic Violence

Abstract
In October 2013, ten gunmen in the Libyan city of Sirte intercepted and robbed a cash transfer vehicle carrying $55 million from the Libyan Central Bank (Laessing and Shennib, 2013). This robbery was just one — certainly high profile — example of the spiralling violent crime rate in Libya since the brief civil war in 2011 which ended the 42-year dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. Officially the murder rate has increased by 500 per cent in the two years following the fall of the regime (Libya Herald, 9 January 2013). Although crime rates in societies emerging from authoritarian regimes and war are notoriously unreliable, there is general acceptance that crime has increased dramatically in Libya in recent years (OSAC, 2013). The rising crime rate could be the result of many factors, not least of which are the porous borders with Sudan, Chad, Niger and Algeria, the release of some 15 000 prisoners during the war and the ubiquitous presence of weapons in Libyan society. Two other factors can be added to these explanations and both these factors are closely associated with Libya’s experience of civil war: firstly, the presence of armed, organised groups in society that were protagonists during the war and have not been disarmed or decommissioned. They have retained their guns and their networks which could now be applied in pursuit of violent crime in the absence of a political cause.
Christina Steenkamp

4. Social Violence

Abstract
In February 2011, four men in Guatemala City were apprehended by a group of local residents, beaten, drenched in petrol and set alight. They had been accused of stealing a vehicle delivering flour to a bakery (BBC News, 22 February 2011).
Christina Steenkamp

5. A Culture of Violence

Abstract
Statistical and ethnographic accounts of homicide rates during and after wars point to a significant rise in murders in post-war societies (Ember and Ember, 1994, p. 621). Post-war societies are, more often than not, violent societies (Andreas, 2004; Call, 2002; Moser and McIllwaine, 2001; Preti, 2002; Steenkamp, 2009). In addition, there is evidence that societies with such high levels of violence may be growing accustomed to it. In an interview in 2004, a 40-something Protestant man who has lived through the Northern Irish conflict, explained that:
Although, people like myself who’ve seen all the violence, it’s not that we accept violence, it’s just that we’ve become used to it. When there’s a bomb or shooting, people would say “yeah, that’s awful”, but there’s no real hysteria. It’s something we’ve seen for years. It’s not that we are any less caring or sensitive, it’s just that we’ve become hardened to it.
(Belfast Interview 6).
Christina Steenkamp

Conclusion

Abstract
There is a scene in the 2012 Oscar winning movie Lincoln (Spielberg, 2012) when US President Abraham Lincoln meets with Congressman George Yeaman towards the end of the American Civil War to persuade him to vote in favour of the proposed Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. An unconvinced Yeaman argues that ‘we are entirely unready for emancipation’, to which Lincoln retorts:
We’re unready for peace too, ain’t we? Yeah, when it comes, it’ll present us with conundrums and dangers greater than any we’ve faced during the war, bloody as it’s been. We’ll have to extemporize and experiment with what it is, when it is.
Christina Steenkamp

Backmatter

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