THE NATURE AND EXPERIENCE OF POLITICAL TRANSITION
Political transitions are dominantly analyzed top-down and focus on a narrow range of political processes and institutions. Critical rethinking of the ‘transition paradigm’ entails that structural factors, such as historical legacies and ethnic make-up, determine the trajectory of political transitions. My research intends to complement top-down approaches by offering a bottom-up perspective revealing what it means to live through a transition in the ordinary perception and experience.
TRADITIONAL JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION MECHANISMS
The use of customary institutions and mechanisms is increasingly presented as a solution to operational problems of justice in general and transitional justice in particular. It not only entails a turn towards more culturally appropriate and home-grown solutions, it often also implies the decentralization of the judicial procedure and/or the reconciliation process to the most remote local level: small face-to-face communities. My research is primarily focused on the practice of the gacaca courts in Rwanda and the bashingantahe councils in Burundi. Download Poster
MICRO-DYNAMICS OF VIOLENCE/GENOCIDE
I started my research in Africa's Great Lakes by spending three months on a Rwandan hill studying the dynamics of genocide at the local level. Over the years, I have continued to gather data on this theme. I am planning to use this material to explore, among other things, the dark sides of social networks.
KNOWLEDGE, METHOD AND DATA
Any study needs a preliminary and continuous reflection on existing knowledge and the process of knowledge construction; hence my interest in the sociology of knowledge. In addition, and although my research is often ethnographically-driven, I am interested in mixed method approaches that can deal with or uncover the complexity of a research topic. I also have a keen interest in the use of life/oral histories as a research technique.
In the past I have also done research on sexual violence, radio listening habits, elections as well as evaluations of development and grassroots programmes.