Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Bearing : resilience among genocide-rape survivors in Rwanda / by Maggie Zraly.

Publication | Library Call Number: DT450.435 .Z73 2008

This dissertation is an ethnographic study of resilience among Rwandan genocide-rape survivors based on over 14 months of fieldwork with two women's and girls' associations of genocide survivors in the Huye District of Rwanda. One association brings together genocide widows on the national, district, and sector levels in Rwanda and has a total membership of approximately 25,000 survivors (AVEGA). The other gathers together women and girls who were raped during the genocide and has 60 members ( Abasa). Resilience was approached as a cultural process involving the self, emotion, and social engagement, and a political economy of emotions framework was crafted to guide the study. The purpose of this study was to: (1) understand resilience among Rwandan genocide-rape survivors, (2) explain differences in resilience across association memberships, and (3) explore how resilience among Rwandan genocide-rape survivors is implicated in the remaking of postgenocide society in Rwanda. Resilience was found to consist of the work of bearing. No significant difference was found across the Abasa and AVEGA samples between the frequency of elements and categories of resilience discussed in resilience narratives. However, Abasa members were found to be engaging in more elements of bearing living, conceptualized as an intentional stance in the world that anticipates the transition from “bad life” to “good life”. Furthermore, in the absence of a functioning public health sector, unpredictable international NGO funding threatened the emotional work of collective resilience, described as an intersubjective sociosomatic experience whereby courage and hope engage the intentional bodies of genocide-rape survivors to generate contexts for living. The findings from this study contribute to the literature by ushering the phenomenon of resilience, particularly in its collective form, squarely into the domain of medical anthropology. The results of this study are translated into concrete recommendations for a novel approach to mental health promotion among women and girls affected by war- and genocide-rape. The conclusions of this study support the argument that international health and development projects in Africa must be driven from a human rights framework rather than neoliberal ideology.

Zraly, Maggie.
Record last modified: 2018-04-25 12:05:00
This page: