19 March: Colloquium “Elusive tactics: Urban youth navigating the aftermath of war in Burundi” by Lydewyde Berckmoes (FASoS, Maastricht University)

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Date(s) - 19/03/14
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Grote Gracht 80-82, Spiegelzaal (Soiron Building) Maastricht


Elusive tactics: Urban youth navigating the aftermath of war in Burundi

by Lydewyde Berckmoes (FASoS, Maastricht University)

Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development research program/ FASoS and MACIMIDE colloquium


The presentation is based on Lidewyde’s PhD dissertation which explores the social genesis of war and peace in Burundi. She approaches this topic through a focus on everyday practices of classification and identification among youths on the northern periphery of Bujumbura, and reveals the ways in which male and female youths (16-30 years) in marginalized circumstances grapple with insecurities and uncertain prospects concerning violence and exclusion. These indeterminacies characterize Burundi in the aftermath of the civil war. The aim is to provide insight into purposive action in indeterminate contexts and illuminate the agency of ‘ordinary people’ – here, youths – in reinventing peace.

A key finding is that various prevalent practices in Burundi can be termed ‘elusive tactics’. Elusive tactics refer to practices that allow people to remain or become more versatile, flexible and, quite literally, difficult to pin down. They foster the desire for or belief in openness and alternatives, beyond the knowledge and power that constrain everyday life. Yet, they also perpetuate and foster mistrustful social relations: extraordinary circumstances and betrayal remain a looming possibility.

About the Speaker

Lidewyde Berckmoes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. In her research and work she is particularly interested in the ways in which people shape their lives and dreams in challenging situations. Her current research deals with social and emotional aspects of transnational family life among Africans living in the Netherlands. She obtained her PhD (Cum laude) in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU University in Amsterdam for her dissertation entitled “Elusive Tactics: Urban Youth Navigating the Aftermath of War in Burundi”. She obtained her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, her M.A. in African Studies from the African Studies Centre/Leiden University, and her M.A. in Advanced Development Studies from the Radboud University Nijmegen. During and after her studies, she gained experience in the fields of research and policy in Tanzania, South Africa, Burundi and the Netherlands where she worked with the Lutheran World Federation, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and UNICEF.

 Discussant: Ayla Bonfiglio (MGSoG)