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"A Socialist Peace? Explaining the Absence of War in an Out-of-the-Way Place" by Michael McGovern

Monday, March 12, 2012
12:00 AM
411 West Hall

During the 1990s and 2000s, four of Guinea's six West African neighbors experienced civil conflicts. Guinea itself suffered from intercommunal tensions, competition over the wealth created by mineral resources, and disastrous misgovernance. But against the expectations of most Guineans and outside observers, Guinea narrowly avoided civil war. How?
During the 1990s and 2000s, four of Guinea's six West African neighbors experienced civil conflicts. Guinea itself suffered from intercommunal tensions, competition over the wealth created by mineral resources, and disastrous misgovernance. But against the expectations of most Guineans and outside observers, Guinea narrowly avoided civil war. How? Building on an extended case study from my fieldwork, I argue that the cultural work of the strong socialist state in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s succeeded in creating both imaginative and material resources favoring resilience and national unity. These resources were reactivated fifteen years after the end of the socialist period. We thus find ourselves invited to contemplate the paradox of a coercive authoritarian state whose afterlife assumed the form of a socialist peace.