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Concepts of Violence and Peace in African Languages

Möhlig, Wilhelm JG
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In Foblets, Marie-Claire, and Trutz von Trotha, eds., Healing the Wounds: Essays on the Reconstruction of Societies after War. Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 25-45.

Wilhem Mxc3xb6hlig and Rxc3xbcdiger Kxc3xb6ppe approach the central topic of this book xe2x80x93 healing the wounds of societies after war xe2x80x93 with certain key questions. They include the following. What are the chances of success for processes of healing? To what extent are traumatized societies capable of or even willing to be restored? The authors maintain that adequate discussion of such crucial questions requires insight into the ethical concepts and systems of moral values of traumatized peoples. Combining methods of conceptualization in the semantic fields of violence and peace with sociolinguistic methods, they inquire into those ethical concepts and systems of values by analyzing linguistic data. In other words, what does language itself reveal about groups, societies, and cultures with respect to war and peace? And, again with respect to war and peace, how does language socialize or shape people within the particular groups, societies, and cultures in which they live? To make all of this concrete, Mxc3xb6hlig and Kxc3xb6ppe highlight three case studies: the Kavango Bantu in Southwest Africa; the Cushitic Rendille in Kenya; and the Swahili of the East African coast.


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