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Mediating anti-political peace in Abidjan: Radio, place and power

Cante, Fabien; (2020) Mediating anti-political peace in Abidjan: Radio, place and power. Political Geography , 83 , Article 102282. 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102282. Green open access

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Abstract

After a decade of conflict (1999–2011), peace-building in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, focused on the local as a primary site of reconciliation. In addition to being local, peace was anti-political, seeking to separate place from politics as autonomous realms of public life. Through the example of local radio peace programmes, this article offers a critical, ethnographic account of anti-political peace as a spatial process. It links local peace and its justifications to the operations of governmental power, emphasising continuities of anti-political mediation and political domination. Such a historicised perspective challenges the framing of anti-political peace as the opposite of politics-as-conflict: they have long been two sides of the same coin in Abidjan and, as a binary “choice,” prevent the search for more democratic alternatives. Simultaneously, I argue that anti-political peace it is best approached as a field of contest. An ethnographic approach acknowledges the widespread rejection of politics in the Ivoirian metropolis, while resisting the collapse of institutional and everyday perspectives into a self-reinforcing consensus. I show that radio producers and Abidjanais residents could not quite pin down the meaning of politics, as that which ought to be shunned. Rather than bypass these hesitations through normative or ontological reasoning, I suggest (following others) that we might treat politics' irreducible polysemy as a source of continued struggle.

Type: Article
Title: Mediating anti-political peace in Abidjan: Radio, place and power
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102282
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102282
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Geography, Political Science, Government & Law, Anti-politics, Peace geographies, Urban conflict, Abidjan, GEOGRAPHIES, GOVERNMENTALITY, GEOPOLITICS, COMMUNITY, DEMOCRACY, LOCALISM, STRUGGLE, AGONISM
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10154956
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