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Centre of African Studies: Events


Living by the Gun in Chad: Combatants, Impunity and State Formation

Living by the Gun in Chad: Combatants, Impunity and State Formation
Speaker: Dr Marielle Debos # University of Paris Nanterre
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Date and Time
20th Sep 2017 16:00 - 20th Sep 2017 17:30
Seminar Room 1 & 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, EH8 9LD

How do people live in a country that has experienced rebellions and state-organized repressions for decades,  marked by routine forms of violence and impunity? Drawing on over ten years of fieldwork conducted in Chad, Marielle Debos explains how living by the gun has become both an acceptable form of political expression and an everyday occupation.

Contrary to the popular association of violence and chaos, Debos shows that these fighters continue
to observe rules, frontiers and hierarchies, even as their allegiances shift between rebel and government forces, and as they drift between Chad, Libya, Sudan and the Central African Republic. Going further, she explores the role of the globalized politico-military entrepreneurs and highlights the long involvement of the French military in the country. Combining ethnographic observation with in-depth theoretical analysis, the book demonstrates that ending the war is not enough. The issue is ending the ‘interwar’ which is maintained and reproduced by state violence.

“A one-of-a-kind book, a fascinating political ethnography of the men who make their living in the
twilight between war and peace. Living by the Gun is the indispensible book on conflict and governance in Chad as well as a seminal analysis of the nature of contemporary war in Africa.”
- Alex DeWaal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation 

“Based on a decade of research in and around Chad, this brilliant book brings together an exemplary
ethnographic commitment and deep theoretical sophistication.”
- Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, University of Oxford

Living by the Gun in Chad