Panel 1: The Sociology of Civil war

Kasper Hoffmann, University of Copenhagen, (chair)

Koen Vlassenroot, Ghent University,

Gilles Dorronsoro, Pantheon-Sorbonne University,

Esther Marijnen, Ghent University,

Abstract: Wounded landscapes: Understanding nature-society relations in times of war

Forests fulfil multiple functions in times of war. While some people find refuge in forests, for others these spaces become battle or execution sites. Moreover, rebel groups might use forests to re-organise, train and plan attacks from. Going beyond this functionalist understanding of forests, and nature more generally, this paper aims to explore the dialectical relation between nature and society in times of violent conflict. Through focussing on changing agricultural relations, we can understand how environments are militarised, and how peoples connection with the landscape influences, and is influenced by war, resulting in ‘wounded landscapes’. To do so, I build on Derek Gregory’s ‘natures of war’ where he approached nature as “a medium through which military and paramilitary violence is conducted” (2015). Where Gregory focussed on the bodily experiences of soldiers in different environments, I aim to integrate socioecological relations during war more broadly, when analysing multiple ‘wounded landscapes’ in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Josaphat Musamba, Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Bukavu,