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Trust and Violence in Times of Conflict: Africa and Beyond

24. February 2022 - 25. February 2022

Online Workshop

24/25 February 2022, Goethe-University Frankfurt

For the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes, state sovereignty meant more than an end to ‚a war of all against all‘. It would also allow people to build up trust in human relationships free from hostility. The monopolization of violence, in this perspective, marks more than a profound shift in the way violence is organized and legitimated. It is also essential to overcome a kind of ’negative‘ trust in the certitude of suffering. Citizens, instead, can start to trust in the prospect of nonviolent interaction.

In the contemporary world, state monopolization of violence derives from different imperial histories, and shows significant global variation. Depending on the state’s past, its institutional setting and use of coercion, duress, injustice, and exclusion can be rather part and parcel of citizens‘ everyday life than the exception. Such experiences shape peoples‘ pasts, presents, and futures, underpin collective memory, and render the prospect of unharmful interaction for some people more unlikely than others. How does this shape the way people trust when ‚leaving their bed in the morning‘? This workshop critically explores empirical cases of conflict, crime, and political resistance to explore the dynamic interplay of trust, distrust, and violence. We question the common equation between violence and distrust and critically scrutinize how far violence not simply refutes but drives, determines, and changes the way people trust. We ask: Which individual or collective (inter)actions assure trust, and how does violence play into them? How is trust preserved throughout processes of political conflict? How do different contexts of violence help us to engage with the dynamic relationship between trust and distrust analytically? How do questions and assumptions about the interplay of trust and violence change in the context of different social and political frictions? Finally, with which methodological approaches can we investigate dis/trusting as a relational and dynamic concept?

Programm (pdf): Click here…


24. February 2022
25. February 2022


The lecture will take place via Zoom. Please register at office@normativeorders.net to receive the login data.


„ConTrust. Vertrauen im Konflikt. Politisches Zusammenleben unter Bedingungen der Ungewissheit“ – ein Clusterprojekt des Landes Hessen am Forschungsverbund „Normative Ordnungen“ der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main