Added: August 10, 2013 – Last updated: November 4, 2017


Author: Maggie Zraly

Title: Bearing

Subtitle: Resilience among Genocide-Rape Survivors in Rwanda

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Case Western Reserve University

Advisor: James T. Pfeiffer

Year: 2008

Pages: 464pp.

OCLC Number: 185036775 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: Rwandan History | Types: Genocidal Rape / Rwandan Genocide; Victims: Mental Consequences / Resilience


Link: OhioLINK: Ohio Library and Information Network (Free Access)


Author: ResearchGate

Abstract: »This dissertation is an ethnographic study of resilience among Rwandan genocide-rape survivors based on over 14 months of fieldwork with two women’s and girls’ associations of genocide survivors in the Huye District of Rwanda. One association brings together genocide widows on the national, district, and sector levels in Rwanda and has a total membership of approximately 25,000 survivors (AVEGA). The other gathers together women and girls who were raped during the genocide and has 60 members (Abasa). Resilience was approached as a cultural process involving the self, emotion, and social engagement, and a political economy of emotions framework was crafted to guide the study. The purpose of this study was to: 1) understand resilience among Rwandan genocide-rape survivors, 2) explain differences in resilience across association memberships, and 3) explore how resilience among Rwandan genocide-rape survivors is implicated in the remaking of postgenocide society in Rwanda. Resilience was found to consist of the work of bearing. No significant difference was found across the Abasa and AVEGA samples between the frequency of elements and categories of resilience discussed in resilience narratives. However, Abasa members were found to be engaging in more elements of bearing living, conceptualized as an intentional stance in the world that anticipates the transition from “bad life” to “good life”. Furthermore, in the absence of a functioning public health sector, unpredictable international NGO funding threatened the emotional work of collective resilience, described as an intersubjective sociosomatic experience whereby courage and hope engage the intentional bodies of genocide-rape survivors to generate contexts for living. The findings from this study contribute to the literature by ushering the phenomenon of resilience, particularly in its collective form, squarely into the domain of medical anthropology. The results of this study are translated into concrete recommendations for a novel approach to mental health promotion among women and girls affected by war- and genocide-rape. The conclusions of this study support the argument that international health and development projects in Africa must be driven from a human rights framework rather than neoliberal ideology.« (Source: Thesis)


  List of Tables (p. 5)
  List of Figures (p. 6)
  Acknowledgements (p. 7)
  Abbreviations (p. 10)
  Abstract (p. 11)
  1 Introduction (p. 18)
  1.1 A Resilience Study (p. 18)
  1.2 The Situation of Women and Girls who Survived the 1994 Genocide (p. 21)
    (En)during Diginity (p. 21)
    Collective Sexual Violence is a Global Health Problem (p. 24)
    Rwandan Women's Associations Postgenocide (p. 27)
    Progressive Gender-Related Policies Implemented (p. 29)
    Genocide-Rape Survivors Health and Lives at Stake (p. 31)
  1.3 Problem Statement: A Question of Resilience (p. 33)
    Lives and Living after Violence and Trauma (p. 33)
    Resilience (p. 36)
    Political Economy of Resilience (p. 39)
  1.4 Significance of the Study (p. 43)
  1.5 Assumptions, Research Questions, Expected Results (p. 46)
    Assumption: Genocide-Rape is a Collective Trauma (p. 46)
    Research Questions (p. 48)
    Expected Results (p. 49)
  1.6 Scope and Limitations (p. 50)
  1.7 Definition of Terms (p. 52)
  2 Literature Review (p. 55)
  2.1 The Humanitarian Response to Gender-Based Violence in Armed Conflict (p. 56)
  2.2 Global Mental Health, Medical Anthropology, and Collective Violence (p. 62)
    The Emergence of a Global Perspective on Mental Health (p. 62)
    Medical Anthropology Problems in Global Mental Health (p. 64)
    Resilience to Collective Violence in Global Mental Health (p. 69)
  2.3 The Resilience Concept (p. 71)
    Psychological Approach to the Process of Resilience (p. 72)
    Physiological Approaches to the Process of Resilience (p. 76)
    Constructionist Approach to the Process of Resilience (p. 77)
    Toward Resilience as a Cultural Process (p. 79)
    Setting Off from Psychological Approaches to Resilience and Trauma (p. 80)
  2.4 African Healing Systems (p. 84)
  2.5 Theoretical Framework: Political Economy of Emotion (p. 91)
    Political Economy in Medical Anthropology (p. 91)
    Culture and Emotion in Political Economic Context (p. 102)
  2.6 Literature Integration (p. 106)
  3 Inequality and Violence in Rwandan History (p. 109)
  3.1 Introduction to Ethnicity and Political Identity in Rwanda (p. 109)
  3.2 Colonial Racialization in Rwanda (p. 113)
  3.3 The Independence Movement in Rwanda (p. 117)
    Collective Violence between the Hutu and Tutsi Following 1959 (p. 120)
  3.4 Postcolonial Rwanda (p. 122)
  3.5 Civil War in Rwanda (p. 125)
  3.6 The 1994 Genocide in Rwanda (p. 130)
  3.7 Rwanda’s Postgenocide Transition (p. 134)
  3.8 Rwanda in the First Congo War (p. 136)
  3.9 Rwanda in the Second Congo War: Africa’s World War (p. 137)
  3.10 “Developments” within Rwanda’s Borders Postgenocide (p. 141)
    Gacaca (p. 141)
    Decentralization (p. 143)
    Mutuelle (p. 144)
    FARG (p. 147)
    Retrenchment (p. 147)
    Imidugudu (Villages) (p. 148)
    Umuganda (Community Work) (p. 149)
    Ingando (Solidarity Camp) (p. 150)
    Icyunamo (Mourning Period) (p. 151)
  3.11 Summary (p. 152)
  4 Research Site: Butare (p. 156)
  4.1 The New Butare (p. 156)
  4.2 Genocide in Butare (p. 158)
  4.3 Butare in Statistics (p. 160)
  4.4 Anthropologist Living Inequality (p. 162)
  5 Methods (p. 167)
  5.1 Methods Overview (p. 167)
  5.2 In-Field Analysis for RNI Creation (p. 170)
    Fieldwork to Inform the Resilience Narrative Instrument (p. 170)
    Association Entries (p. 171)
      Entry into Abasa – High Stakes, Fast Pace (p. 171)
      'Speak Out!' Rolls In (p. 174)
      Entry into AVEGA – Welcome to the Hierarchy (p. 176)
      The New York Connection – Resilience is Marketable (p. 178)
      Entry into Tugane Umuhoza (Let's Head for the Comforter) – Access Granted (p. 181)
    Interim Analysis (p. 186)
  5.3 Sampling and Mapping Procedures (p. 187)
    Preliminary Research (p. 190)
      Exploratory Fieldwork in Rwanda (p. 190)
      Internet-Guided Access to a "Hidden" Population (p. 190)
    Mapping and Sampling Abasa (p. 192)
      Abasa Mapping (p. 192)
      Handling Hidden within Hidden within Hidden Populations (p. 197)
      Abasa Sampling (p. 201)
    Mapping and Sampling AVEGA (p. 203)
      AVEGA Mapping (p. 203)
      AVEGA Sector Leaders Meeting (p. 208)
      AVEGA Sampling (p. 212)
    Mapping and Sampling Comments (p. 213)
  5.4 Data Gathering Procedures (p. 216)
    Interview Methodologies (p. 217)
      Semi-Structured Interviews (p. 217)
      In-Depth, Unstructured Interviews (p. 222)
    Observation Methodologies (p. 222)
      Observation (p. 222)
      Participant-Observation (p. 223)
    Fieldwork Challenges (p. 224)
  5.5 Data Analysis Procedures (p. 225)
    Transcription and Translation (p. 225)
    Data Analysis Strategy (p. 227)
      Resilience Codebook Creation (p. 228)
      Resilience Content and Cross-Case Analysis (p. 230)
      Conceptualizing Remaking the World (p. 233)
  6. Sample Description (p. 234)
  6.1 Characteristics of the Sample of Study Participants (SPs) (p. 234)
  6.2 Association Sketches (p. 241)
    Abasa (p. 241)
    AVEGA-Agahozo (p. 245)
    Tugane Umuhoza (p. 249)
    Association Mixing (p. 251)
  7 Resilience Findings (p. 253)
  7.1 Problems as the Context of Adversity (p. 253)
  7.2 Vocabulary of Resilience (p. 261)
  7.3 Conceptualizing Resilience as a Cultural Process (p. 263)
    The Resilience Codebook and Codelist (p. 263)
    Vital Contexts (p. 265)
  7.4 A Sense of Resilience (p. 266)
    7.4.1 Bearing Self (p. 269)
      Accepting (p. 269)
      Calm and Quiet (p. 271)
      Cultivating Inner Peace (p. 272)
      Enduring (p. 274)
      Getting Rid Of (p. 275)
      Good Crying (p. 276)
      (Never) Forgetting (p. 277)
      Praying (p. 279)
      Reflecting (p. 280)
      Resting (p. 281)
      Self-Seclusion (p. 283)
      Thought Control (p. 283)
    7.4.2 Sharing Bearing (p. 285)
      Being a Resource (p. 285)
      Being With (p. 286)
      Caring Connecting (p. 287)
      Conduct Concerns (p. 288)
      Expressing Problems (p. 289)
      Humoring (p. 290)
      Incorporation (p. 291)
      Meaning Making (p. 293)
      Microcomparison (p. 294)
      Normal Human Being (p. 295)
      Sharing Same Problem (p. 296)
    7.4.3 Bearing Living (p. 297)
      Ending Distress (p. 297)
      Fortifying Positive Affect (p. 298)
      Gaining Benefits (p. 299)
      Maintaining Dignity (p. 300)
      Protecting Health (p. 302)
      Rejecting Death (p. 303)
      Returning to Living Life (p. 304)
      Struggling for Lifechance (p. 305)
      Valuing Self-Sufficiency (p. 306)
      Wanting Lifetime (p. 307)
  7.5 ‘Bearing’ in Light of Genocide and Survivor Literature (p. 308)
  8 Bearing Difference: Resilience Across Associations (p. 311)
  8.1 Resilience Content Analysis (p. 311)
  8.2 Exploring Self-Seclusion (p. 325)
  8.3 In Consideration of the Isolated and the Desolate (p. 334)
  9 Bearing Living (p. 338)
  9.1 Housing Introduction (p. 338)
  9.2 Abasa Receives Houses (p. 340)
  9.3 AVEGA Provides Housing Assistance (p. 345)
  9.4 Eviction and Housing Assistance through Tugane Umuhoza (p. 350)
  9.5 The “New Abasa” Impacts AVEGA and Tugane Umuhoza (p. 358)
  9.6 Housing Summary (p. 363)
  10 Discussion (p. 364)
  10.1 Understanding Resilience (p. 364)
  10.2 Sources of Fractured Solidarity and Exclusion (p. 375)
  10.3 Ethnographic Data around Housing Vignettes as ‘Social Dramas’ (p. 342)
  10.4 Resilience Implications for Remaking the World (p. 380)
  10.5 Kwongera Kubaho in the Historical Context of Political Violence (p. 382)
  10.6 Toward a Political Economy of Resilience (p. 386)
  10.7 Cultural Psychology Articulated with Political Economy of Emotion (p. 393)
  11 Conclusions (p. 397)
  11.1 Findings Summary (p. 397)
  11.2 Potential Applications for Global Mental Health (p. 402)
  11.3 Recommendations (p. 405)
  11.4 Next Steps: Collective Resilienc Action-Research in Post-Conflict Settings (p. 408)
  11.5 Key Contributions (p. 409)
  Appendix A -- Resilience Narrative Instrument (p. 411)
  Appendix B -- Resilience Codebook (p. 416)
  Appendix C – Tables for Data Reported in Chapter Eight (p. 434)
  References (p. 435)
  Notes (p. 461)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of Rwanda | Genocide: Rwandan genocide / Rape during the Rwandan Genocide | Psychology: Psychological resilience | Sex and the law: Genocidal rape