Kathrin Heitz Tokpa within the Colloquium of the Institute of Social Anthropology

3 years ago

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Presentation by Kathrin Heitz Tokpa (University of Freiburg i. Br.) within
the Wednesday Colloquium of the Institute of Social Anthropology
Complex emotions such as trust and distrust have become a recognized object
of social science research over the last two decades. Apart from studies
on trust in personal relationships, however, anthropology has only
contributed hesitantly to this new field so far.

This presentation offers insights into the current debates and proposes an
action-oriented approach to trust, based on ethnographic research in a
war-torn society. This political condition, which warrants distrust first,
offers an ideal context to work out trust relations more clearly and to
analyse their transformations.
The presentation is based on PhD-research conducted in the framework of the
SNSF-funded project “Regaining trust in post-conflict societies” in
Côte d’Ivoire and Namibia headed by the Chair of Social Anthropology at
University of Basel, Prof. Dr. Till Förster.

The case-study presented is the one conducted by Dr. des. Kathrin Heitz
Tokpa in the rebel-held town of Man in western Côte d’Ivoire. The major
interest of her study lies in the relationship between combatants and
non-combatants, including high- and low-ranked rebels, chiefs, youth
representatives, women, business and state actors. After an initial period
popularly referred to as temps sauvage, the rebel movement set up a basic
civil administration that gradually brought back social order, so that
quotidian life regained a level of predictability and trustworthiness. The
study concludes that local actors were able to distinguish between
trustworthy (safe) and untrustworthy (unsafe) situations, showing that
trust is shaped socially and transforms according to political phases.

Date: 11. November 2015
Time: 16:15 - 18h
Venue: at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Münsterplatz 19, 4051

Download: Flyer (pdf) (Link:
) and Programme of the Colloquium (pdf) (Link:

Info: https://ethnologie.unibas.ch/


Forwarded by:
Centre for African Studies Basel
zasb@unibas.ch (Link: zasb@unibas.ch )


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