Multiple violences and practices of peace
: a feminist approach to the post-ceasefire process in the Basque Country

  • Andrea Garcia Gonzalez

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis develops a critical feminist and anthropological study of the post-ceasefire process in the Basque Country. The permanent ceasefire declared by ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna - ‘Basqueland and Freedom’) in 2011 opened a socio-political process in which the armed violence that started in the early 1960s has ended, but different violence continues. This study develops a critique of, and offers an alternative to, conceptions of this process in terms of orthodox peace-building discourse, as ‘post-conflict’, seeking ‘reconciliation’, and centred on recognition of the experiences of the ‘victims of terrorism’.

Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out over one year in order to explore the full range of meanings about violence, reconciliation, perceptions of the past and the future held by Basque people, how those meanings are being contested and their relation to hegemonic narratives in circulation in the Basque context. Participant observation was conducted with different groups and individuals, some of them part of convivencia (‘living-together’) initiatives while others call into question the very existence of a peace process. Twenty-one unstructured interviews were carried out only with women, which is an epistemological and political decision that has allowed for the study of violence and peace to gain in complexity and for the analysis of gendered framings of the post-ceasefire process.

The first chapter stresses the importance of attending to gender dynamics and gendered meanings and emotions in the analysis of post-ceasefire processes. The second chapter studies the Basque scenario as featured by contestation. The following chapter explores how otherness is constructed in the representation of divisions of the past and how the image of ‘the other’ precludes acknowledgment of different experiences of violence. Chapter four analyses what I term as ‘pacification mechanisms’ that structure the post-ceasfire process in restrictive and exclusionary ways. In chapter five, the multiplicity of violences is revealed through paying attention to narratives that are excluded from spaces of recognition. Chapter six identifies the importance of everyday gestures and actions not frequently exposed in the public display of testimonies in post-ceasefire contexts, and explores how, during and after the armed conflict, ‘practices of peace’ have displaced violence by placing vulnerability and care at the core of relationships.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorGraham Dawson (Supervisor), Carrie Hamilton (Supervisor) & Thomas Carter (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Basque Country
  • Feminism
  • Anthropology
  • Gender
  • Violence
  • Peace
  • Conflict

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