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Escape from disappearance

Centre Space Studios and Gallery, BS1 1EA  |  Free

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In violent societies, escaping violence is often an alternative to disappearing altogether. Yet, within the culture of Anglo-American hegemonic masculinity, there is a preference for solutions that change the behaviour of the perpetrators of violence, rather than solutions that simply rescue people from danger.

This discussion provides a new perspective on such a culture. There will be two presentations, one of which will reveal research results from a study of discourses of protection in international relations. This study suggests that privileging solutions that change the behaviour of others by means of power to protect people is associated with the escalation of violence. This is because violence is often a complex relationship that is difficult to grasp from the outside. Oversimplifying violent relationships and acting with power against the assumed atrocity criminal tends to escalate violence.

The second presentation exemplifies this logic by showing how efforts to change the assumed perpetrators of violence in Afghanistan ended up escalating violence. Oversimplified narratives of the problem of violence there led to simplistic, power-obsessed policies that ultimately resulted in increased disappearances and deaths and the subsequent failure of the powerful US-led operation. The presenter of this part is a scholar who escaped death and disappearance of Afghanistan by coming to the UK as a refugee. He is one of the university’s many sanctuary scholars whom Britain rescued from violence it had itself participated in escalating with a power-biased militaristic approach.

This event is supported by Arts Council England National Lottery; the Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Bath; ESRC Festival of Social Sciences; the Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol; the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath; and UCC, Cork.

It is also partnered by Bristol Ideas; Locate International; Trebuchet Art Magazine, and The Philosopher. 

This Event is part of the State of Disappearance Art Exhibition 

Image: Chantal Meza (2017) Estado de Terror, Mixed Media

Timo Kivimäki is Professor of International Relations at the University of Bath.

Habib Wardak is Sanctuary Scholar at the University of Bath. He is a civil society activist in his home country, Afghanistan, and a refugee in the United Kingdom.

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