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Episode 1 - Violence and Social Transformation in Libya

December 04, 2023 Just Access Season 2 Episode 1
Episode 1 - Violence and Social Transformation in Libya
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Just Access
Episode 1 - Violence and Social Transformation in Libya
Dec 04, 2023 Season 2 Episode 1
Just Access

Over the next two episodes, we speak with Dr. Virginie Collombier and Dr. Wolfram Lacher, who are the editors of the recent book, 'Violence and Social Transformation in Libya', published by Hurst in 2023. In this first episode, we focus on how the book came to be and some of its core arguments and contributions.

In the second episode, we will focus on what the book might help us understand about the present and future of Libya.

Enjoy listening!

Don't forget to rate us, recommend us and share on social media!

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Over the next two episodes, we speak with Dr. Virginie Collombier and Dr. Wolfram Lacher, who are the editors of the recent book, 'Violence and Social Transformation in Libya', published by Hurst in 2023. In this first episode, we focus on how the book came to be and some of its core arguments and contributions.

In the second episode, we will focus on what the book might help us understand about the present and future of Libya.

Enjoy listening!

Don't forget to rate us, recommend us and share on social media!

Support the Show.

Intro 1

[00:00:00] Dr Miranda Melcher: Hello and welcome to Just Access. Too many individuals and groups around the world today are denied access to justice. This access is vital for making human rights effective and securing human dignity, especially for those in situations of vulnerability, including women, children, minorities, migraines, or detainees.

[00:00:21] In this podcast, we speak to academics, international legal experts and human rights advocates about hot topics in international law and conflict with the intention to expose and highlight situations of structural injustice and explore possible solutions to these issues, aiming to protect and enforce the rights contained in international treaties.

[00:00:41] I'm Dr. Miranda Melcher, a senior legal fellow at Just Access, and over the next two episodes, I speak with Dr. Virginie Collombier and Dr. Wolfram Lacher, who are the editors of the recent book, Violence and Social Transformation in Libya, published by Hearst in 2023. In this first episode, [00:01:00] we focus on how the book came to be and some of its core arguments and contributions.

[00:01:05] In the second episode, we focus on what the book might help us understand about the present and future of Libya.


[00:01:11] Dr Miranda Melcher: So thank you so much, both of you, for being here. It's great to have you and to speak about your work and the book. Before we get into it though, would you mind each introducing yourselves a little bit to give us some background on your expertise?

[00:01:41] Dr Virginie Collombier: Hi, I'm Virginie Collombier. And first of all, thank you for this opportunity to talk about our book. I've been a professor of practice and the scientific coordinator of the Mediterranean platform at Luiss Guido Carli's University School of Government in Rome, Italy, since 2022. [00:02:00] Prior to this, I worked with the Middle East Directions at the European University Institute in Florence.

[00:02:06] I started conducting research on social and political dynamics in Libya in 2012. I've travelled to Libya, essentially the western region, many times between 2012, 2018. It's been more challenging since then. But my research focus has been essentially on former regime constituencies, processes of mediation and reconciliation and the political process more generally.

[00:02:33] From 2015 onwards, because of circumstances, I've been directly involved in local mediation and dialogue initiatives in Libya, and since then I've been directing several projects, combining field Research training for junior analysts in Libya and support to homegrown mediation initiatives and policy dialogues in Libya.

[00:02:55] Dr Wolfram Lacher: Hi, I'm Wolfram Lacher. I'm a researcher at the German Institute for [00:03:00] International and Security Affairs, a think tank in Berlin. I'm a political scientist and a regional specialist by training, and I've worked on Northern Africa and the Sahel for the past 17 years or so, most of all on Libya. I began visiting Libya in the final years of Gaddafi's rule and then from 2011 onwards, I started doing more in depth research there several times per year research that was really driven by developments on the ground, quite simply because my job, my main job requires understanding day to day developments and also the role of foreign states in events on the ground.

[00:03:43] And for that reason, I quickly began focusing on violent conflict in Libya and began delving into the political science literature on civil wars and armed groups to see to what extent that would allow me to make [00:04:00] sense of dynamics in Libya. And that's essentially what I've been doing for the past 10 years.

[00:04:06] Dr Miranda Melcher: Brilliant. Thank you both for those introductions. Very clearly they demonstrate the massive expertise that you both bring to this project, but how did this book come about and how did you decide to do it together?

[00:04:19] Dr Virginie Collombier: Wolfram and I had followed each other's work for many years now. But when I started working on Libya, Wolfram was already one of the few experts in the field. So even I was a bit impressed contacting him the first time, but this has changed and evolved and we started discussing the idea of writing a book on Libya together for the 10th anniversary of the 2011 revolution, and this was scheduled in 2021.

[00:04:44] So the idea was to try and take stock and analyze the transformations that had taken place during the decade. They had been a few edited volumes. published in the aftermath of the revolution like among which the book from Peter Colin, Colin McQueen, [00:05:00] something else from Jason Park, but quite little in the later stages of the political transition.

[00:05:07] So we started discussing the idea. We both shared the view that research analysis on Libya had essentially focused on political developments and the security sphere. So the civil wars, the first, the second, the third, political competition, mediation process and armed group security sector reform, but that no comprehensive effort had been made to look at how these dynamics had affected Libya's society.

[00:05:36] So this was something that Wolfram was very much witnessing during his regular visits to Libya, something I was also feeling very directly through the mediation work conducted with Libyan colleagues, which gave me access to a broad range of diverse stakeholders from across the country, and also through our mentorship program of junior analysts based in Libya, who are based in different cities and regions. 
[00:06:00] So we agreed that for the book to really bring something new to research on Libya and to help people better understand Libya we needed to shed light and focus more on Libyan society. On the way it had changed, it had been changed by a decade of violence, several episodes of acute violence, especially the three civil wars, but also this kind of persistent threat to violence that had been present throughout the society.

[00:06:28] It took us some time to achieve our end. The book was eventually published by Hurst Publishers in June 2023, so in the end we missed the 10th anniversary of the revolution, but we're happy we've made it anyway and we hope it can be a contribution to the field.

[00:06:49] Dr Miranda Melcher: Brilliant! Thank you so much for explaining that. Wolfram is there anything you'd like to add?

[00:06:54] Dr Virginie Collombier: Maybe that, I think neither of us could have put this book together on our own [00:07:00] because we needed both of our respective networks to bring together this list of contributors. And one of the aspects that was very important to us from the outset was that there should be a strong participation from Libyan contributors.

[00:07:17] And there were some very obvious candidates for this. Some of whom ended up contributing chapters, but given the topics that we were interested in, we also needed to bring on board Libyan contributors who were not necessarily established researchers yet but whom we knew to be closely familiar with the topics that we wanted to cover.

[00:07:39] And Virginie's network, Virginie just referred to the program where she works with up and coming Libyan analysts. Virginie's network is very important for that. And that also meant that this was not always a straightforward project. And we had originally planned for there to be even more contributions from Libyan [00:08:00] authors that we ended up then we ended up having. Some unfortunately didn't materialize and this also has left some thematic holes in the book.

[00:08:11] Dr Miranda Melcher: Obviously no project ends up achieving exactly what it thought it would and in the way it thought it would but there's nevertheless a lot to learn from this book. You've both mentioned kind of the themes and topics and wanting to cover and discuss issues that had not been covered in the literature before. Can you introduce us to the explanatory framework that you used to tie the book together and how it was developed?

[00:08:34] Dr Wolfram Lacher: Yeah, so I'd say that we have an analytical framework rather than an explanatory framework because we don't have a common puzzle that we are investigating. But the analytical framework of the book really tries to foreground the effects of violent conflict on society. So our common starting point is that violent conflict deeply [00:09:00] transforms social relations.

[00:09:02] And therefore the task in all of the chapters was to trace the effects of violence on different aspects of social relations and on everything from collective identities, residential patterns, gender relations, the functioning of the public sector, because someone coming to the country today may think that, this is just how things are here, this is how they've always been when, in fact, they are the outcome of very specific instances of violent conflict. 

[00:09:35] Now, on the basis of all of this analysis, in the introduction to the book, we develop a typology of different ways in which violent conflict can drive social transformation and there are for us three types of effects, first order, second order, and systemic. First order referring [00:10:00] to direct consequences of the use or the threat of violence, such as, changes to power relations, changes to social hierarchies, as certain actors wield violence and concentrate power in their hands. 

[00:10:15] Second order effects are more indirect consequences. For example, changes to power relations and social hierarchies due to prolonged economic disruption that are, that is in turn caused by conflict. And then you have what we call systemic effects by which we mean that a changing distribution of control over the means of violence, for example, the collapse of the state monopoly on violence, if there was one, enables change across different domains of social relations. 

[00:10:51] Whereas previously the state monopoly held a particular set of property relations in place ensured [00:11:00] the dominance of a particular identity politics, or particular religious ideologies, the collapse of the state monopoly then leads to ripple effects across these domains. And the established social order is then challenged even without this necessarily being directly driven by acts of violence. And this typology was developed on the basis of the chapters that look at different domains of social relations.

[00:11:30] Dr Virginie Collombier: Yeah, nothing specific to add to this. I think this really then reverberate on the key topics that we decided to address and as Wolfram just highlighted, we wanted to go through various spheres of the Libyan society and really look at the way violence - direct or indirect had affected these fears.

[00:11:51] So we're trying to have quite a broad understanding of society, looking at different angles and I think one of the [00:12:00] important things, maybe one of our objectives were to really try to have a comprehensive approach looking at not only one sector of society, but really through different angles what violence has resulted in.

[00:12:17] Dr Miranda Melcher: No that's very helpful. Thank you. Just to give our audience a bit of an idea of those multiple angles are there maybe a few you could list as examples to demonstrate what we're talking about?

[00:12:27] Dr Virginie Collombier: Sure! But maybe before this, I'd like to, maybe highlight the fact that one central challenge for both family and I had been precisely to find potential contributors. on the key topics we were, we are willing to address. It was not the easiest task. Some topics were obviously much more difficult than others to cover because very little to nothing had been published on some issues.

[00:12:50] Also because exploring and analyzing societal change requires a more direct experience of the field and therefore access to the field, which is also [00:13:00] second major constraint. And also because some issues are also challenging to research and sometimes very sensitive. So looking into religion, religious groups, gender relations, for instance, has been something and is something which is difficult, including for contributors living in Libya, who are much more directly affected by what's happening on the ground. And probably the final constraint that really had an impact on our work is also that the vagaries of the Libyan context, as and precisely this is the topic of the book.

[00:13:38] Libya has been going through several episodes of violence, which made also the work. for contributors, much more difficult. In the end, we still managed to come up with, we think, was a wonderful group of contributors. As Wolfram mentioned, some have been leading researchers and Libyan experts known at the [00:14:00] international level Fred Weary, Mary Fitzgerald, Tim Eaton, Emad Badi.

[00:14:04] Others, though, are newcomers to the field. They live and work in Libya and as I said, they've been part of our research mentorship program for some time. So through this collaboration between different voices on Libya, including local voices. We really tried to fill some of the gaps we saw in research and contemporary Libya.

[00:14:31] To begin with, and for us, this was something very important. The war in Benghazi, it's been a very it is a very complex issue. Also an issue which has been absolutely central to the country's trajectory since 2011. And therefore, we chose to devote two chapters to the Benghazi war, two chapters which focus on two different aspects of the conflict.

[00:14:55] So one chapter by Fred Weary focuses more on the nature, the evolution of 
Haftar's coalition, the dignity operation and how it has evolved over the years. And the second chapter by Mary Fitzgerald, which focuses on the war's consequences for the city's social fabric. This has been really a central point in the way we thought about the book, but there are also a number of other gaps we wanted to fill, including the work I've done with Ms. Omar on the networks and constituencies of the former regime. We tried to wonder, is there really such a category as the former regime? And we tried to explore how this former regime category was created and how it has adapted to the changing political and security realities post 2011. 

[00:15:43] We also focused and had a contribution on developments in the southern part of the country an area which is very rarely explored. And in the book, the chapter on Sabha is really a fascinating in-depth study of how the repeated waves of [00:16:00] violence have reshaped social but also tribal relations in the city and how this violence has reverberated across the Fezzan region, especially through the phenomenon of displacement.

[00:16:13] Other contributions include the experiences of Libya's youth vis a vis the 2011 revolution and its consequences, and particularly Emad Badi looks at how youth socialization in a violent environment has shaped their identities, has shaped their political consciousness, and their agency in general, and it looks at maybe different generations of Libyan young people which have emerged since 2011 and how they've really become different political actors. 

[00:16:47] The transformation of gender relations is also addressed through a very personal first hand account of her experience by a young woman from Tripoli suburbs. So these issues are [00:17:00] basically what constitute the first part of the book, which focuses on what we call identity, community, and social relations.

[00:17:08] There is a second part in the book which puts more emphasis on what's called power, resources and institutions. This means looking into Libya's public sector, which has been central to Libyan's lives and to the patronage networks that have been structuring Libyan society. So the main question, and this is Wolfram's chapter, what has the collapse of the state monopoly and violence meant for the public sector?

[00:17:34] Wolfram can, of course, say more about it. This section also focuses on, at least try to understand how financial institutions have continued to operate throughout the decade, and how different networks have been competing for control over these institutions. It echoes interestingly, our chapter on the former regime, by the way. And finally we also, and this is a bit [00:18:00] different approach try to reflect on how mediation, so the international mediation process after 2015, has transformed social realities both in intended and unintended ways. 

[00:18:13] So these are like, I would say, the main chapters. I hope I'm not forgetting any. Maybe one important thing is to mention that not all the topics we wanted to cover could be included in the end as we said, because of the Libyan context, because it's been also difficult, to have people from very different backgrounds to come together and to be able to commit to this kind of demanding experience.

[00:18:37] For instance, we sought contributions on the conflicts in Derna, which we think is very important, but unfortunately couldn't finalize the chapter. Same thing about identity politics among Libya's ethno linguistic minorities. And in particular, we had thought of having a chapter on the Amazigh community and how it has navigated the [00:19:00] transformation of the Libyan political space after 2011.

[00:19:04] But this could not also come to light. Eventually, two other important points the religious sphere and the connection between the religious sphere and political developments, but also the media landscape which I think will provide for future on other researchers, a very important area to explore and analyze. Yeah, in a nutshell, I think these are the main points. Maybe, Wolfram, you want to focus more, no?

[00:19:34] Dr Miranda Melcher: That was incredibly comprehensive. Thank you so much for the great description of all the things included in the book. I think it really speaks to the points you've both made already about what the book is contributing, right? Covering areas that have not been covered before and highlighting voices on the ground in particular.

[00:19:52] So that's fabulous to give us context for the book. Going into some of the details then of what the book [00:20:00] discusses. Especially from the outside, given, as you've mentioned, the lack of more recent and more wide ranging scholarship, there's quite often, I think, a perception that Libya is captured by militias, that's the main thing that's going on here, that's where the focus is.

[00:20:17] On the other hand, and often not necessarily connected, Libya's also known for having a lot of different civil society organizations, a lot of engagement in that sector. And of course, as you've just mentioned massive use and penetration and importance of media and social media. These things are not often brought together.

[00:20:36] And I think that's one of the important things the book is doing is expanding what is on the table for discussing in Libya. Do you, in your expertise and work through the book, see these different aspects, these different kind of multiple ways people are engaging and expressing their kind of political and social demands as being aspects of the same impulse? Or do we [00:21:00] think of them together? Wolfram, it sounds like you want to go first.

[00:21:03] Dr Wolfram Lacher: Yeah, so I think that this burgeoning civil society that you're referring to was really a feature of the early years after Gaddafi's fall, so of the political transition period from 2011 to 2014. And it was really in this new, newfound freedom after the demise of the Gaddafi regime that the civil society flourished.

[00:21:29] Today, that phase is often forgotten and people talk about Libya as if it, had lived through 12 years of uninterrupted war and chaos since 2011, which is of course misleading. And this actually speaks to a wider point we make in the book, which is that when trying to understand how violent conflict reshapes societies, we need to look at the cumulative impact of successive [00:22:00] phases of conflict phases that diverge with regard to the fault lines of these conflicts, but also with regard to patterns of violence.

[00:22:11] And one point that Emad Badi makes in his chapter on Libya's young generation is that for those who came of age in in the first years after 2011, this period of flourishing civil society, the political agency that they had in this period was a formative experience. Whereas the experience of those who came of age in the following years was overwhelmingly one of a loss of agency.

[00:22:41] And joining a militia then became one of the few ways to regain agency. So there were indeed instances where mobilization into armed groups was driven by broad based political [00:23:00] mobilization. I would say that this was the case in the three civil wars in 2011, 2014, 2019. But in the periods of relative calm between and following those civil wars, joining one of the standing militias was really often driven by more mundane and more material motives.

[00:23:25] Dr Virginie Collombier: Yeah, I think this is an absolutely, a crucial point. But I would maybe add something on this like connection or not between the space available for civil forces or civil society organizations and the proliferation of armed groups, also the increasing, increased role of security agencies throughout the period.

[00:23:45] This is something that is only partially addressed in the book, because also of most recent developments, but I would say This space that Wolfram mentioned referring to the burgeoning civil society after 2011[00:24:00] quite rapidly shrunk early on already in Benghazi because of the way violence and insecurity has affected the civil sphere.

[00:24:09] If you remember that activists, lawyers were targeted and killed, and also the political divisions increased the pressure on civil society quite early on in Eastern Libya. And I think to some extent, this is something which is well covered also by the two chapters on Benghazi.

[00:24:27] But for instance this phenomenon is also something we've seen happening in the Western part of the country in the most recent period. So it's not covered by the book, but I think some of the recent developments precisely come and illustrate and further make our point even more clear.

[00:24:45] If you see that arrests, for instance, under the pretense of protecting Libyan and Islamic values have become increasingly common in both the East and the West, the powers in place have opposed any attempts by Libyan society to come together, to 

[00:25:00] get organized, to build what could structure into a position to their rule, or even just prepare for the emergence of political alternatives. This is something which was already present over the period 2014-15 and in the following years, but I think it really has accelerated in the most recent period. And on the other hand, you also see clear attempt by the rulers in place on both sides to co opt some elements of civil society, especially among the youth and to bring them closer to power centers and try and use and manipulate them.

[00:25:34] And this is a very worrying trend. And I think It's a worrying trend that is parallel to what Emad explains in his chapter in how joining armed groups have become a way for young people to regain some agency. It seems in the most recent period that there's also in a more marginal way these attempts by the authorities on both sides of the conflict.

[00:25:59] Divide [00:26:00] to try and use some of this organization and young people to become like support base for for them. So obviously all this is made possible by the control of force and military might by the rulers on both sides in Tripoli and Benghazi, armed groups and security agencies playing a central role in this development.

[00:26:21] And I don't think social media, for instance, can really provide a remedy to this. Because control over the digital space has also increased significantly. So has self censorship. So this is also a trend which is becoming more visible that people are being much more careful with posting on Facebook, for instance, which remains a key communication tool in Libya.

[00:26:47] Younger generations would use TikTok or things like this, but this does not constitute the channel to build a civil space. And all the more that the media in general and social media. have been extremely [00:27:00] polarized and polarizing over the past years and played a key role in the conflict, which is why we really wanted to have a chapter on social media and media. Could not happen with this book, but hopefully this is a topic that we can maybe encourage other researchers to work on in the future.

[00:27:17] It's really key, I think, and really goes hand in hand with some of the developments that we've seen and also indirectly connected to the issue of violence and its effect on society. It's a more indirect violence, but it has contributed to this kind of atmosphere of threat and and division, violent divisions that has been present in the country throughout the past decade.

[00:27:42] Dr Miranda Melcher: No, absolutely and I think that I would echo that encouragement for people to research this and look into it. I think one of the great things that the book does is lay out a much more extensive sort of research agenda of here's a bunch of things we haven't had in the conversation and that opens up space for continuing that and expanding the topics further.

[00:28:02] I'm really glad you highlighted what the book can help us understand in terms of current developments, future developments, as well as how it can promote I think, future research. Speaking of kind of research, one aspect as well I'd love to ask you both about is something I think quite common for those of us who study places and work in places that are not Europe or the United States, where a lot of the theory, a lot of the concepts have been developed and we don't necessarily yet bring in theories and concepts of how politics works that were not developed in these places. And yet Libya, as one example does have political science as a historical heritage. So Ibn Khaldun, I'm probably not pronouncing that particularly correctly but was a really important 14th century political scientist working across what is now today, the multiple countries of North Africa.

[00:28:58] Given the emphasis in the book [00:29:00] of people who are actually living in Libya and understanding how these different aspects work in practice to what extent do you think, taking a step back, the sociological or political science concepts that were developed in places like the United States and Europe make sense when trying to understand what's happening in Libya versus maybe older, 14th century is certainly older than anything coming out of the United States, but maybe still really relevant.

[00:29:29] So I guess more on this conceptual level, what do you both think about what to take from different traditions and how they might be helpful?

[00:29:39] Dr Virginie Collombier: So I think that generally speaking, we go relatively lightly on the concepts and on theory in the volume at least when it comes to the chapters really try to make. To make sense of social change in Libya on its own terms. And then in the introduction, as I had said earlier, [00:30:00] we try to conceptualize social transformation through conflict on the basis of these empirical studies.

[00:30:06] Now, of course. Each of the chapters also uses concepts, whether explicitly or implicitly but I would argue that much social science that engages with Non Western societies has actually long moved past concepts that are exclusively rooted in the Western historical experience, so to speak. For example, in my chapter on the public sector, I engage with literatures, with concepts that have developed over the past four decades, or in some cases longer than that.

[00:30:48] Thank you. On Frontierism, on Clientelism on political settlements, uh, on the delegation of state functions. And these [00:31:00] are all, I think, concerts that have been at least partly developed to understand non-Western societies and partly also have been developed by non-Western scholars and, um, looking at social transformation through violence.

[00:31:17] does put these concepts in a new light in some cases, but I do think that they many, in many cases, they provide a useful starting point. And I would actually be more skeptical that that a 14th century conceptualization of cyclical political change would be more useful since that would Appear to suggest that a society such as Libya's hasn't really changed for the past 700 years. And that would, I think, certainly run counter to our entire approach.

[00:31:53] Dr Miranda Melcher: Wonderful. Very helpful. Thank you. Virginie, is there anything you'd like to add?

[00:31:57] Dr Virginie Collombier: Briefly. I fully agree with Wolfram's  reply. I think precisely, Libya's societies has changed and one of the main drivers of change has also been oil, for instance. And I think all what Wolfram refers to regarding the, theories around the rentier states, also more political economy based approaches, for instance, are very important.

[00:32:19] Similarly, network theories. Because one of the things which also runs through the different chapters is also precisely an analysis of how networks are built and reshaped and rearranged. And I think this is throughout, the period, it's also something which is very important to look at and to take into account in terms of, the more analytical and the more theoretical landscape for studying Libya.

[00:32:51] Dr Miranda Melcher: No, that's very helpful. Thank you. To cover, especially throughout our conversation so far the, some of the practical elements, some of the new areas, as well [00:33:00] as the theoretical piece. So thinking about then the book and of course the entire research process overall, putting this book together that you've both spoken to a bit already, what are some of the things either during the kind of putting it all together process, or the writing process of your individual chapters, that you found surprising? Even if it's something that didn't end up making it into the book?

[00:33:24] Dr Virginie Collombier: I don't know. Surprising, not really. I think like both of us highlighted, it's been quite a challenging endeavor putting all these chapters together, also precisely because things were also changing and transforming on the ground as we wrote, and because this also complicated significantly the work of some of our colleagues.

[00:33:52] I Would say maybe more than surprised I found in, something interesting and new. Maybe just to give an example [00:34:00] for the listeners, they, the insiders look into the women's world in Libya, for instance the chapter by Rima Ibrahim. As you may know, looking into the women's world is is a very difficult issue to research for foreigners even more unaccessible, I would say, to male researchers because of the gender segregation that continues to characterize Libyan society to a large extent. For instance, I've, I think I've had easier access to women communities than Wolfram when we were going to Libya and meeting with people.

[00:34:36] And I think Rimas Ibrahim's chapter, for instance, provide a very original and refreshing account of what it has meant to be a woman in a big Libyan city after 2011. So I would maybe just. refer to this example, so not surprised more something a bit new that also to some extent challenged the kind of cliché or stereotypes that we may even ourselves have had about women's role in Libyan society.

[00:35:05] Dr Wolfram Lacher: Maybe to highlight a very different point. So I think both of us suspected this to some extent in the beginning of starting this project, but still, it was surprising when we were looking for ways to conceptualize, theorize, social transformation through violent conflict was how little systematic research there actually is on this topic.

[00:35:33] And this is surprising because it seems so obvious that every single aspect of social life in a country such as Libya, but also in all other post conflict countries has been shaped by the conflicts that preceded it, that the post conflict phase at times decades of violence. Social science on political violence is generally tilted towards explaining the [00:36:00] determinants the causes of violence, of violent behavior, of patterns of violence.

[00:36:06] And when it comes to the consequences, there are a lot of specific, smaller bodies of literature on war economies, on rebel governance, on gender relations. There is some nascent work on legacies of violence, but there is very little that tries to pull these aspects together and understand and theorize social transformation through violence as such as a whole, and that was of course, part of the motivation for the book but it still surprised me at least when writing the introduction for it.

[00:36:46] Dr Miranda Melcher: Brilliant, those are some great things to highlight. Thank you both for sharing.

[00:36:50] Thank you Virginie and Wolfram, for introducing us to your book, Violence and Social Transformation in Libya, [00:37:00] published by Hearst in 2023. In our next episode, we'll look at what this book might help us understand about the present and future of Libya, still with Virginie and Wolfram.