On Collective Violence: Actions, Roles, Perceptions

The conference untangled the definitional web of actors such as perpetrators, victims, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses and so on who act within the context of collective violence, looking conceptually and empirically at who these people are, what roles they take on and what actions they engage in.

The research on individuals has increased over the years and the different players have been put in analytical categories applied to plethora of actors who experience conflict within societies. This becomes more nuances when engaging empirically with the genesis and dynamics of collective violence for it is unclear in many cases where e.g. human traffickers or bureaucrats stand in this web and how their actions can be classified, understood and explained.

Therefore, the conference captured the relevance of various ‘grey zones’ conceptually and empirically, thus forwarding our understanding of the many types of actors and actions. Here in detail what makes an individual a bystander, predator or victim and how these roles itself become an action in the context of violence.  This becomes even more complicated when the construction of various types of actions and their significance is studied and the actors themselves have their say or the framing and narrating of actors or their actions is politically charged, as is currently the case with the debate on “smugglers” along the EU’s external borders.

At the same time the conference discussed the actors’ own constructions of the parts they play as well as the social and political discourses that qualify or disqualify, legitimise or delegitimize actors and/or their actions.

20.-22.10.2016 | Program | Poster | Report

Organisers: Kristine Avram, Melanie Hartmann, Philipp Schultheiß, Timothy Williams