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Durham e-Theses
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Rancière, Rwanda and the Re-Distribution of the
Sensible: Performances of Equality and Recognition
in Post-Genocide Space

O'CONNELL, GISELE,EUGENIA (2024) Rancière, Rwanda and the Re-Distribution of the
Sensible: Performances of Equality and Recognition
in Post-Genocide Space.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 05 January 2027.


This thesis explores the interconnections between the politics of state reconstruction and the
aesthetics of post-genocide performance in contemporary Rwanda. The 1994 Rwandan genocide
was a defining ruptural moment in Rwanda which began a decade’s long national project to cultivate
unity, equality and harmony between citizens and which has been instituted by the current RPF
Rwandan government and its various national programmes, strategies and institutions. Tropes of
genocide memory and re-development continue to be used by the Rwandan government to
construct an image of the country that was once abandoned by the international community in
1994, but which, under a new government and leadership has since made successive strides in terms
of its political and economic change; an image that continues to be projected nationally and
internationally. I analyse the aesthetic role of Rwanda’s post-genocide politics and performance
through the recent formulation of aesthetics by the political theorist Jacques Rancière whose
aesthetic sensibility signals the inter-relations of perceptible-sensible life with the politics and
production of state-craft. The aim of this study is to show in this sense that Rwanda’s post-genocide
state reconstruction project of ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ meaning ‘I am Rwandan’ is fundamentally
“aesthetic” in a Rancièrean sense, both in terms of its generation/ production, national deployment,
as well as its subversion and resistance through artistic performance practice. I focus on Rancière
because his account of aesthetics provides us with a vocabulary in which to account for the
politicality of creative performance. This, I argue, can enable a more emancipatory spectatorial and
participant experience in Rwanda in ways that cause the existing aesthetic social order to appear
unsettled, arbitrary and/or subject to change

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Ranciere, Rwanda, Aesthetics, Geography, Performance Art
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Jan 2024 13:35

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