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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.94
Locating “Cultural Violence” in Peace Studies: Ethnographic Reflections from the Chittagong Hill Tracts
This paper critically examines the dominant discourses pertaining to and emanated from the ‘root causes of conflict’ in the implementation process of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord 1997 in Bangladesh. Focusing on multi-layered peace building attempts and resistances in the local context, this paper investigates the strength and limits of the peace discourses in its relationship with the ongoing ground-level conflicts and in its everyday realizations. In doing so, firstly it argues for careful attention to different concepts that are in use in academia (especially in Peace Studies) and in state/CHT Peace Accord languages but to unpack those ethnographically such as conflict, cultural violence, and identity politics to reflect on people’s everyday experiences with those. Secondly, invites the readers also to look into the uneven power relationship between different actors including (national/regional) political parties, ethnic groups, law enforcement agencies, vested interest groups, and the state that are actively reinforce and oppose/resist the dominant discourses. Furthermore, the paper contends that the relationship of alleged peace and ongoing conflict embedded in people’s experiences are shaped through its particular history, cultural contexts, and political economy within from which the role of local people is considered to be that of a cultural innovator. The findings of this paper are based on several periods of fieldwork from 2011 and 2015. The research used mostly qualitative methods, including interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation, analysed by multiple means ranging from a functional approach to discourse analysis.