Seminar: Violent Challenges to Democracy by Dr Lyn Ossome.

Event Information
Event Date: 
Wednesday, 2 August 2017 -
2:15pm to 5:15pm


My particular concern in this paper is with the violence attached to liberal democracies, and especially with its gendered nature. If theorists of democracy have largely valorised the ability of liberal democratic politics to stabilise society in postcolonial Africa, their success has partly been due to a failure to reflect on the nature of demands on political societies burdened by the violent legacies of colonial indirect rule. Neither have they been able to acount for the ethnic and gendered character of violence that has accompanied political contestations in Africa. Such an understanding would need to both account for the historical production of gendered subjectivities and their articulation to ethnic identities. While feminist scholarship has sought to theorise the gendered nature of political violence, much of the existing scholarship presumes an already ethnically coded subject of violence, as such  eschewing the structures, histories, conditions and institutions that produce women as such. How then, might we understand the late modern subject of violence beyond the liberal identitarianism that normatively places ethnicity beyond the purview of democratic politics? What might a feminist critique of the relationship between violence and democracy highlight in this regard? The paper’s concern is with how we might understand gendered violence in the current milieu of late modernity, in which democracy stands as the referential condition for the stabilization of civil and political society. By focusing on the electoral context in Kenya rather than on the direct acts of violence, this paper shows highlights a violence of exclusion, which I argue proceeds on the basis of ethnic mapping and desubjectivation in the electoral context.



Papers are available from MISR Library.



The event is open to the Public. Audience attendance is limited to 60 persons. Pre-register with MISR Library or email:



Event Venue
MISR Seminar Room 1

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