Respacing for Peace? Resistance to Integration and the Ontopolitics of Rural Planning in Post-War Burundi

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This article investigates the politics and social impact of post-war ‘respacing for peace’ strategies in Burundi from within a set of contested spatial arrangements — or rather, post-war socio-spatial experiments — including peace villages, IDP site clearances and land sharing. The author takes a critical look at these reconfigurations, and the resistances and manipulations that result when people (or their remains) are moved or placed in the name of coexistence, integration and sharing after the war. In this way, the article contributes to a post-conflict planning literature that is mostly concerned with overcoming segregation and cleansing through integration, by exploring some of the complexities and problems that can arise with unquestioned embrace of the latter. It shows that a very particular and problematic logic of ethnic coexistence and physical integration drives post-war respacing in Burundi and that people resist it with strategies in both physical and reflexive space. Proceeding through a set of paradoxes — such as the refusal to return and staying put, or re-emigration as a response to settling — the article explores how and why respacing-for-peace might produce, or fail to prevent, the opposite outcome: community conflict, social tension and segregation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-566
Number of pages33
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number3
Early online date19 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2017


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