PhD Defense | Shaping Claims to Urban Land. An Ethnographic Guide to Governmentality in Bukavu’s Hybrid Spaces | Fons van Overbeek | October 14th, 2020 at 11 am CEST

In Bukavu, a rapidly growing city in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, neither claimants of land nor claimants of authority can solely rely on one identity or institution in order to secure their claims. Lasting recognition of claims requires constant renegotiation across a shifting diversity of competing individuals and their practices; all sustaining, challenging, redirecting, and contributing to the unpredictable hybridization of claim-making practices. This constant hybridization of the requirements of recognition compromises the security of any claim. Rather than securing definitive recognition, what is reciprocally maintained is permanent investment and perpetual uncertainty. As to adequately study this complex hybridization, which is different for every single claimant, this research meticulously demonstrates that an operationalization of hybridity through an ethnographic reading of Michel Foucault’s framework of governmentality is a challenging, but analytically productive choice as it provides a more detailed, non-normative, and non-essentialist analysis in contested spaces.