Masculinities in conflict in Casamance


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The violent and counterproductive repression of a pacific women’s protest in March 1982 in Ziguinchor by Senegalese authorities points the beginning of the armed struggle in Casamance. Women were attacked, elders mistreated and holy places invaded. In local cultures, particularly in Diola, neither women nor children shall be harmed. The immediate organization of a violent reaction initiated one of the oldest low intensity conflicts in present Africa. Numbers of analysts, political scientists and development partners have reflected about how to tackle this resilient conflict but few have projected gender analysis. This paper proposes an engendered picture of the present situation. It tries to give insight about how gender affects the conflict and how gender has been affected by the conflict. It introduces to patriarchy and masculinities in Diola culture and relates women and masculinities to the conflict. With a particular focus on the independent armed forces, this paper searches for opportunities to be explored for current peace initiatives.

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Tomas Serna Salichs

Master in Conflictology and in History of International Relations Tomas Serna has worked in the development sector for over 17 years having developed a considerable expertise in peace, conflict and governance issues particularly in West Africa