Dramatized and structural violence within the axis of citizenship: an ethnographic exploration into Eastleigh, Nairobi
Millar, Stefan (2016)
Master's Programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research
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This research is an ethnographic study into the processes of violence in contemporary Nairobi, Kenya. The ethnographic investigation was primarily focused on the residents of Eastleigh and its neighbouring districts. The ethnographic matierial taken from Eastleigh indicated that violence within that context appeared in two forms: dramatized and structural. Those two forms were a result of the observed and ongoing acts of police brutality, terrorist actions, gross inequalities, deep-rooted corruption and ethnic marginalization. Dramatized violence and structural violence were both used as theoretical tools to analyse these forms of violence taken from the ethnographic data. However, from the interlocutors' stories regarding violence, the notion of citizenship arose as an intersecting feature between dramatized and structural violence. Thus, citizenship became a theoretical axis which connected strucutural violence and dramatized violence. Citizenship worked as a frame to observe how an act of dramatized violence could result in a reduction of one's agency, in turn maintaining the victim as marginalised and therefore more prone to the forces of structural violence. In the case of Somalis in Eastleigh, police violence distinguished them as lesser or non-citizens. A reduced citizenship maintained a constrained agency, making one more suseptable to structural violence. Therefore, dramatized and structural violence interact with one another within the intersection of citizenship.