The politics of Congolese Combattants’ violent transnational mobilisation
Peter Kankonde Bukasa, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Notre Dame
Wednesday, 08 February 2017, 1pm to 2pm
Seminar Room 3, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB
About this presentation
In this paper I discuss the dynamics of formation and mobilisation of the new Congolese Combattant militant migrant groups that have globally embargoed Congolese politicians, musicians and religious ministers supporting the current Congolese regime to visit or hold public events outside their country of origin. Discursively constructed as ‘national unworthy’, those who dare to violate this embargo have been humiliated drawing on different politics of shaming, or violently assaulted and some churches vandalised. I discuss the issues of how socialisation with democratic culture and rule of law in Western and other liberal democratic countries impacts migrants’ understanding of their own transnational citizenship and the kind of political participation that may emerge for the rights of those left behind. I use multiple data collection techniques: netnography, deep hanging out, overt and covert participant observation, incident reporting, and in-depth face-to-face and phone interviews conducted over four years. My main argument is that enhanced by moral proximity and the resulting constitution of mediatised networks of political concern created by new media technologies, the Combatants’ violence is an expression of migrants’ pragmatic insurgent citizenship activism. I introduce the theoretical model of pragmatic insurgent citizenship activism to conceptualise the transnational reality whereby migrants, operating either as nationalist or pro-democracy and rule of law groups, engage in political violence in host settings to simultaneously contest the basic legitimacy of their homeland authorities and instrumentally capitalise on the very same violent acts in attempts to legitimise their stay or access other material or moral benefits in host countries.
About the seminar series - Migration to, through and from Africa: An ‘African’ conversation
Scholars of African descent have increasingly contributed to the growing body of knowledge on African migratory flows, even though Africans have often been depicted as ‘objects’ rather than ‘subjects’ of scholarly inquiry. In this seminar series, we ‘reverse the gaze’ by showcasing cutting edge research conducted by African scholars who examine migration to, through and from Africa.
From early career researchers to more established academics, the presenters in our series demonstrate the geographic diversity of African migration patterns by showcasing how Africans on the move are part and parcel of broader processes of social, political and economic development across the continent and beyond. In doing this, they prove that “Africans have always produced knowledge about their continent, even though their contributions have been ‘preferably unheard’ in some cases and ‘deliberately silenced’ in others” (Pailey, 2016).