Violent Spirits and a Messy Peace: Against Romanticizing Local Understandings and Practices of Peace in Mozambique

  • Nikkie Wiegink
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


In the wake of massive atrocities, religious or cosmological expressions and practices may provide a tremendous resource for healing or transitional justice for both the individual and the collective. Yet all too often, such practices and ideas end up being portrayed in reified, romanticized and one-dimensional ways. This chapter presents the much-celebrated purification rituals of ex-combatants in postwar Mozambique as a phenomenon that has been subject to such “romanticizing.” It provides a thick description of intersections of violence and healing and the spiritual world and thereby presents three elements deemed essential for ethnographic peace research: (1) a multiplicity of interpretations; (2) a caution not to assume that local peace initiatives are inherently inclusive and harmonious; and (3) a long-term or multi-temporal focus.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikkie Wiegink
    • 1
  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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