University of Bath

"Witchcraft" and conflict

A challenge to the human security paradigm?

28 Mar 20171.15pm
28 Mar 20172.05pm

Since the end of the Cold War, policy and scholarly analyses of (in) security in Africa, and beyond, have shifted. Traditional frameworks which conceptualised the phenomenon through the eyes of the state have now given way to those which privilege the perspective of individuals. 'Human Security' takes the human being as the 'referent object' in the consideration of security threats and has thereby placed disease, climate change, poverty, and many other issues at the heart of the security agenda, alongside terrorism and war.

Practitioner and scholarly narratives on (in) security in Africa continue to be dominated, however, by those propounded by national and international political and security elites. We know surprisingly little about how individuals, groups and communities at the local, "everyday" level articulate and understand security threats. This paper therefore seeks to shed light on local and indigenous narratives on (in) security in Eastern Africa, focusing particularly on those which challenge Western epistemologies, notably "witchcraft".