“Situated Bystandership” During and After the Rwandan Genocide

Article


Dona, G. 2017. “Situated Bystandership” During and After the Rwandan Genocide. Journal of Genocide Research. 20 (1), pp. 1-19.
AuthorsDona, G.
Abstract

The dominant account of the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath focuses on victims and perpetrators, and rescapés and génocidaires. Less is known about bystanders, mainly Hutu non-perpetrators, who are held collectively responsible for having witnessed violence without trying to stop the killers or help the victims. This article challenges the homogenous portrayal of the unresponsive bystander group, and introduces the novel concept of “situated bystandership” to draw attention to the proximal and representational contexts that shape bystanders’ responses, roles and positions in society. First, to be a “situated bystander” means to resist the pressure to participate in genocidal violence and to belong to a moral order that is distinct from that of the extremists: the moral world of the ordinary, good-hearted people. Second, Rwandans who are “neither pursuing nor being pursued” occupy multiple roles at different points in time. Many are bystanders to specific episodes of violence and their “acts of non-intervention” shape the course of history. Given the pressure to participate in the genocide, the inaction of bystanders could be considered as passive resistance to the ideology of mass killing. Therefore, in a continuum between victims and perpetrators, bystanders might be positioned closer to the victims than the perpetrators. Third, gacaca is a process through which not only is culpability ascertained but individual innocence is also established. This reconfiguration makes it possible to shift the homogenized perception of Hutu non-perpetrators from the position of the morally guilty bystander group towards that of the individual innocent bystander. In contrast to the tendency to essentialize accounts of violence, homogenize groups and reframe controversial stories to fit political strategies, there is value in standing back and identifying the contexts that shape bystanders’ roles, responses and representations. “Situated bystandership” is a lens through which this objective can be achieved.

JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Journal citation20 (1), pp. 1-19
ISSN1462-3528
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/14623528.2017.1376413
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/14623528.2017.1376413
Publication dates
Print26 Oct 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Nov 2017
Accepted25 Aug 2017
Accepted25 Aug 2017
FunderLeverhulme Trust
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Genocide Research on 26.10.17, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14623528.2017.1376413
LicenseAll rights reserved (under embargo)
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/84q16

  • 7
    total views
  • 30
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 5
    downloads this month

Related outputs

The Marginalised in Genocide Narratives
Donà, G. 2019. The Marginalised in Genocide Narratives. Routledge.
Chapter 8: Mobile Technologies and Forced Migration
Dona, G. and Godin, Marie 2018. Chapter 8: Mobile Technologies and Forced Migration. in: Bloch, Alice and Doná, Giorgia (ed.) Forced Migration: Current Issues and Debates Routledge. pp. 126-144
Refugees and forced migrants
Dona, G., Young, Marta, Sam, David L. and Berry, John W. 2016. Refugees and forced migrants. in: Sam, David L. and Berry, John W. (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology Cambridge University Press. pp. 153-172
The Politics of Migration in Italy: Perspectives on Local Debates and Party Competition [book review]
Dona, G. 2017. The Politics of Migration in Italy: Perspectives on Local Debates and Party Competition [book review]. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees. 33 (1), pp. 107-108.
“Refugee Voices,” New Social Media and Politics of Representation: Young Congolese in the Diaspora and Beyond
Godin, Marie and Dona, G. 2016. “Refugee Voices,” New Social Media and Politics of Representation: Young Congolese in the Diaspora and Beyond. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees. 32 (1), pp. 60-71.
The ‘peaks and troughs’ of societal violence: Revisiting the actions of Turkish and Kurdish shopkeepers during the 2011 London riots
Dona, G. and Taylor, Helen 2015. The ‘peaks and troughs’ of societal violence: Revisiting the actions of Turkish and Kurdish shopkeepers during the 2011 London riots. Sociological Research Online. 20 (1).
The psychological impact of working in post conflict environments: a personal account of intersectional traumatisation
Dona, G. 2014. The psychological impact of working in post conflict environments: a personal account of intersectional traumatisation. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas. 12 (1), pp. 91-94.
Intersectional traumatisation: The psychological impact of researching genocidal violence on researchers
Dona, G. 2014. Intersectional traumatisation: The psychological impact of researching genocidal violence on researchers. in: Macek, Ivana (ed.) Engaging Violence: Trauma, memory and representation Routledge. pp. 91-110
Making Homes in Limbo: Embodied Virtual “Homes” in Prolongued Conditions of Displacement
Dona, G. 2015. Making Homes in Limbo: Embodied Virtual “Homes” in Prolongued Conditions of Displacement. Refuge. 31 (1), pp. 67-73.
Psychology and the Refugee Experience
Dona, G. 2014. Psychology and the Refugee Experience. in: Cooper, Saths and Ratele, Kopano (ed.) Psychology Serving Humanity: Proceedings of the 30th International Congress of Psychology Volume 2: Western Psychology Hove Psychology Press.
Child and Youth Migration: Changing Trends and Responses [editorial]
Dona, G. 2006. Child and Youth Migration: Changing Trends and Responses [editorial]. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care. 2 (2), pp. 2-6.
The Microphysics of Participation in Refugee Research
Dona, G. 2007. The Microphysics of Participation in Refugee Research. Journal of Refugee Studies. 20 (2), pp. 210-229.
Divergent Discourses, Children and Forced Migration
Dona, G. and Veale, Angela 2011. Divergent Discourses, Children and Forced Migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 37 (8), pp. 1273-1289.
Being young and of mixed ethnicity in Rwanda
Dona, G. 2012. Being young and of mixed ethnicity in Rwanda. Forced Migration Review.
Psychosocial Interventions and Children’s Rights: Beyond Clinical Discourse
Dona, G. 2002. Psychosocial Interventions and Children’s Rights: Beyond Clinical Discourse. Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. 8 (1), pp. 47-61.
Street children and political violence: A socio-demographic analysis of street children in Rwanda
Dona, G. 2003. Street children and political violence: A socio-demographic analysis of street children in Rwanda. Child Abuse & Neglect. 27 (3), pp. 253-269.
The Voices of the Displaced in Forced Migration Research
Dona, G. 2008. The Voices of the Displaced in Forced Migration Research. International Association for the Study of Forced Migration.
Commentary to the Special Issue ‘Working with refugees and asylum seekers’
Dona, G. 2007. Commentary to the Special Issue ‘Working with refugees and asylum seekers’. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. 9 (3), pp. 325-332.
Promoting diversity and enhancing learning opportunities for refugee students in postgraduate education
Dona, G. and Fàbos, Anita 2006. Promoting diversity and enhancing learning opportunities for refugee students in postgraduate education. Curriculum Innovation for Diversity Symposium. Higher Education Academy. pp. 1-7
Family Reunification for Unaccompanied Minors in Rwanda
Dona, G., Kalinganire, Charles, Kefyalew, Firew, Mukakizima, Bernardine and Muramutsa, Felix 1998. Family Reunification for Unaccompanied Minors in Rwanda. Kigali (Rwanda) University College Cork and Save the Children Fund.
Child participation in research: Children as research advisors
Dona, G. 2004. Child participation in research: Children as research advisors. Post Grad Refugee Research Quarterly.
Back Home? Refugees’ experiences of the first visit back to their country of origin
Muggeridge, Helen and Dona, G. 2006. Back Home? Refugees’ experiences of the first visit back to their country of origin. Journal of Refugee Studies. 19 (4), pp. 415-432.
The Rwandan Experience of Fostering Separated Children
Dona, G. 2001. The Rwandan Experience of Fostering Separated Children. Stockholm Save the Children.
Refugees’ wellbeing in countries of resettlement
Dona, G. 2002. Refugees’ wellbeing in countries of resettlement. Social Work in Europe. 9 (1), pp. 41-48.
Children as Research Advisors: Contributions to a ‘Methodology Participation’ in Researching Children in Difficult Circumstances
Dona, G. 2006. Children as Research Advisors: Contributions to a ‘Methodology Participation’ in Researching Children in Difficult Circumstances. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care. 2 (2), pp. 20-32.
Editorial: Changing migration patterns and responses in the context of child and youth forced migration
Dona, G. 2006. Editorial: Changing migration patterns and responses in the context of child and youth forced migration. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care. 2 (2), pp. 2-6.