Violence In The Wake Of Civil War: Investigating The Transformation Of Intergroup Relations In Nepal And Mozambique

Walker, Craig (2017). Violence In The Wake Of Civil War: Investigating The Transformation Of Intergroup Relations In Nepal And Mozambique. PhD thesis The Open University.



When a civil war ends there is a formal cessation of hostilities between the warring groups. Yet the termination of fighting does not necessarily end the violence, which can persist into post-war years. The study of post-civil war violence as a distinct phenomenon is dominated by explanations that see it as a legacy of the warring elite and an exercise in preventing them restarting war, or, as culturally embedded within interpersonal relations. This thesis draws on the group nature of civil war to offer a different perspective on this problem. It considers post-civil war violence as a product of continuing hostile relations between previous warring groups and examines the transformation of broader intergroup relations in post-war years. The rationale for the research rests on the idea that if violence is part of intergroup relations, then how might a more informed understanding of these relations facilitate effective peacebuilding interventions in countries emerging from civil war. Using qualitative methods, and a case study approach focusing on Nepal and Mozambique, I compare understandings and experiences of the transformation of intergroup relations from the perspective of political parties that claim to represent the previous warring groups, to that of people living in villages (three in each country). The study finds that violence can remain a central feature of how political parties relate to one another, even after decades of peace. To appreciate this violence requires a conceptual step away from dominant ways of thinking of violence as physical or structural. Conversely, while intergroup violence does not appear to have been a problem within the villages, the presence of violence within interparty relations is driving a pervasive and persistent fear that civil war may once again erupt. The thesis examines the impact of this violence on both the peace process and group relations to highlight the need to recognise and proactively address it.

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