Cover image for Aiding violence : the development enterprise in Rwanda
Aiding violence : the development enterprise in Rwanda
Uvin, Peter, 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
West Hartford, CT : Kumarian Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
ix, 275 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


Format :


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DT450.435 .U95 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This book should be read by everyone involved in development. For those with some knowledge of Rwanda, reading it is nothing short of a cathartic experience. Much of what Peter Uvin has distilled so carefully and passionately from the Rwandan experience is also painfully relevant for other parts of the world. - Development in Practice Paradigm-rocking... simply must be required reading for anyone who desires to set foot in an African nation, no matter how noble or lofty their goals. - WorldViews An invaluable anatomy of the way development aid to Rwanda before the genocide contributed to what took place - essential reading for anyone with a tender conscience and a strong stomach. - The New Republic *Winner of the African Studies Association's 1999 Herskovits Award *A boldly critical look at structural violence relating to the 1994 Rwanda genocide Aiding Violence expresses outrage at the contradiction of massive genocide in a country considered by Western aid agencies to be a model of development. Focusing on the 1990s dynamics of militarization and polarization that resulted in genocide, Uvin reveals how aid enterprises reacted, or failed to react, to those dynamics. By outlining the profound structural basis on which the genocidal edifice was built, the book exposes practices of inequality, exclusion, and humiliation throughout Rwanda.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Like so many others who have tried to understand the roots of Rwandan genocide, Uvin carefully asks why "situations come about in which people feel that they should, and may, exterminate innocent people?" Thoughtfully and compassionately, he explores the body of existing political, economic, moral, philosophical, and psychological explanations for such behavior, rejecting nearly all as necessary but not sufficient. At best, most of the plausible explanations are only partly relevant. But, together, anomie and frustration, long-standing structural societal violence, widespread racism, the manipulation of elites, and newly threatening economic processes interacted to produce the horrific killings in 1994. He notes the absence of civil society in Rwanda; NGOs failed to promote civil society and the values of tolerance and pluralism. Indeed, Uvin is critical of aid and development organizations for not having worked to create an atmosphere of good governance. Despite the misleading title, this is an intelligent and important book about understanding human cruelty, especially in the Rwandan context. It is less about the practice of aid and development, however, than it is an attempt to come to terms with the Rwandan massacres. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. I. Rotberg Harvard University

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. viii
Introductionp. 1
Part I Backgroundp. 11
1 Rwanda before Independence: A Contested Historyp. 13
2 After Independence: Strategies for Elite Consolidationp. 19
Development as Legitimizationp. 23
The Ideology of the Social Revolutionp. 26
The Roots of Prejudicep. 27
The Institutionalized Structure of Prejudicep. 34
3 The Image of Rwanda in the Development Communityp. 40
The Importance of Development Aid in Rwandap. 40
The Image: Development against the Oddsp. 42
The Datap. 46
From Development to Relief: Explaining the Transitionp. 49
Part II Crisis, Elite Manipulation, and Violence in the 1990sp. 51
4 Political and Economic Crises and the Radicalization of Societyp. 53
Economic Crisesp. 53
Political Crisesp. 60
From Elite Fear to the Incitation of Genocidep. 63
Beyond the Standard Explanationp. 67
5 Under the Volcano: The Development Community in the 1990sp. 82
On Knowledge and Ignorancep. 83
The 1990s Development Communityp. 87
The Broader Picturep. 94
Part III The Condition of Structural Violencep. 103
6 From Structural to Acute Violencep. 109
Poverty and Inequalityp. 110
The Forces of Exclusionp. 118
Prejudice and Humiliationp. 127
From Structural Violence to Genocidep. 136
7 Aid and Structural Violencep. 141
The Impact of Development Aid on Structural Violencep. 141
Why the Blindness?p. 154
Part IV Two Issues: The Role of Civil Society and Ecological Resource Scarcityp. 161
8 And Where Was Civil Society?p. 163
Overview of the Associative Sector in Rwandap. 164
The Puzzle of Civil Society in Rwandap. 167
Civil Society: Quantity versus Qualityp. 169
On the Democratizing Impact of Civil Societyp. 172
9 The Role of Ecological Resource Scarcityp. 180
Rwanda's Ecology: An Overviewp. 184
Ecological Resource Scarcity: Challenges and Responsesp. 186
Genocide and Ecological Resource Scarcityp. 197
Part V Conclusionsp. 203
10 Why Did People Participate in Genocide? A Theoretically Informed Synthesisp. 205
Political Science and Sociological Explanationsp. 208
Psychological Explanationsp. 212
Additional Factors of Importancep. 218
11 Development Aid: Conclusions and Paths for Reflectionp. 224
The Dual Role of Aidp. 224
The Politics of Development Interventionsp. 232
Democratization and Civil Societyp. 234
Aid and Political Conditionalityp. 236
Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 263
About the Authorp. 275