STREAM: The Everyday in DR Congo: Negotiating Change and Continuity in Precarious Times

STREAM: The Everyday in DR Congo: Negotiating Change and Continuity in Precarious Times

The everyday in DR Congo: negotiating change and continuity in precarious times

The 2018 stream invites scholars to reflect on experiences, imaginations and representations of “the everyday” in the DR Congo, past and present. The “everyday” can mean a range of things in this context including but not limited to manifestations of value, rhythms of social life, mobilities of words, sounds, monies and people depending on economic possibilities, political events, and social demands. We are looking to address questions such as: what forms can the everyday take in war-zones; in a house where the husband has migrated in order to look for economic opportunities; in a village where ethnic conflicts are latent and can be awakened at any time; in cities where the difference between the rich and the poor is becoming increasingly exacerbated; in migrant contexts where one is confronted on a daily basis with expectations for remittances, travel opportunities and other family responsibilities  to those who have been left behind?

We are also interested in analyses that acknowledge how one’s “everyday” can suddenly change, for the better or for the worse. How is change – defined in a very broad sense, from destructive rupture to productive improvement – actively managed, given meaning, and connected to personal and more social dynamics? How does one’s everyday change when an accident, illness or death occurs?  what impact does marriage, birth, success in school, the selling of cows, and finding valuable stones also have on everyday lives? How does one “learn” new everyday rhythms and practices when arriving in a new village, city or even country? How do chance, miracle, witchcraft, and anointment sit together with claims about “tradition”, bad leadership, economic exploitation, faulty infrastructure, and the economic crisis? We are also interested in hearing from scholars who have examined how have similar changes been managed in historical contexts. How have people managed witch-finding episodes, migration, conversion and labour relations in the recent and deeper past? And how did and do these impact on everyday encounters, cohabitation and confrontations?

We expect panels to emphasize the varieties of “Congolese everydays” in order to do justice to the different worlds that Congolese inhabit. Geography, class, gender and religion contribute to the variegated ways of living life, of daily rhythm, and their materialities. With the “Congolese everyday”, we also include the Congolese diaspora, as electronic communication, travel and affect are traded across national borders on a daily basis.

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Katrien Pype (; Toni Smith ( and Rueben Loffman ( For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website 


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