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Armed mobilisation and the nexus of territory, identity, and authority: the contested territorial aspirations of the Banyamulenge in eastern DR Congo

Judith Verweijen (UGent) and Koen Vlassenroot (UGent)
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Abstract
The closely intertwined notions of territory, identity, and authority are at the heart of conflict dynamics in the eastern DR Congo. Focusing on the territorial aspirations of the Banyamulenge community in South Kivu, this article looks at the ways in which the nexus of territory, identity, and authority shapes and is shaped by armed mobilisation. Excluded from a customary chiefdom in the colonial era, the Banyamulenge, a community framed as ‘migrants’, have been striving for a territory of their own for decades. These aspirations have fed into armed activity by both Banyamulenge and Mai-Mai groups linked to opposing communities, providing deeply resonating mobilising narratives that are employed to justify violent action. Yet, as this article demonstrates, the links between armed mobilisation and the nexus of territory, identity, and authority are both contingent and reciprocal, as violent conflict also impacts the meanings and boundaries of identities, authority structures and territory.
Keywords
Local Authority, Conflict Dynamics, Territory, Eastern DR Congo, Ethnicity, Armed Mobilisation

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Chicago
Verweijen, Judith, and Koen Vlassenroot. 2015. “Armed Mobilisation and the Nexus of Territory, Identity, and Authority: The Contested Territorial Aspirations of the Banyamulenge in Eastern DR Congo.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies 33 (2): 191–212.
APA
Verweijen, J., & Vlassenroot, K. (2015). Armed mobilisation and the nexus of territory, identity, and authority: the contested territorial aspirations of the Banyamulenge in eastern DR Congo. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN STUDIES, 33(2), 191–212.
Vancouver
1.
Verweijen J, Vlassenroot K. Armed mobilisation and the nexus of territory, identity, and authority: the contested territorial aspirations of the Banyamulenge in eastern DR Congo. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN STUDIES. 2015;33(2):191–212.
MLA
Verweijen, Judith, and Koen Vlassenroot. “Armed Mobilisation and the Nexus of Territory, Identity, and Authority: The Contested Territorial Aspirations of the Banyamulenge in Eastern DR Congo.” JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN STUDIES 33.2 (2015): 191–212. Print.
@article{6916419,
  abstract     = {The closely intertwined notions of territory, identity, and authority are at the heart of conflict dynamics in the eastern DR Congo. Focusing on the territorial aspirations of the Banyamulenge community in South Kivu, this article looks at the ways in which the nexus of territory, identity, and authority shapes and is shaped by armed mobilisation. Excluded from a customary chiefdom in the colonial era, the Banyamulenge, a community framed as {\textquoteleft}migrants{\textquoteright}, have been striving for a territory of their own for decades. These aspirations have fed into armed activity by both Banyamulenge and Mai-Mai groups linked to opposing communities, providing deeply resonating mobilising narratives that are employed to justify violent action. Yet, as this article demonstrates, the links between armed mobilisation and the nexus of territory, identity, and authority are both contingent and reciprocal, as violent conflict also impacts the meanings and boundaries of identities, authority structures and territory.},
  author       = {Verweijen, Judith and Vlassenroot, Koen},
  issn         = {0258-9001},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN STUDIES},
  keyword      = {Local Authority,Conflict Dynamics,Territory,Eastern DR Congo,Ethnicity,Armed Mobilisation},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {191--212},
  title        = {Armed mobilisation and the nexus of territory, identity, and authority: the contested territorial aspirations of the Banyamulenge in eastern DR Congo},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02589001.2015.1066080},
  volume       = {33},
  year         = {2015},
}

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