By Didier Bigo, Laurent Bonnefoy, Mathias Delori, Anastassia Tsoukala and Christophe WasinskiAbstract:
The war on “terrorism” does not only destroy; it also creates reciprocal links between the actors of the conflict: reciprocity of moral feelings, of identities, and especially of concrete practices. The argument developed in this article is that René Girard’s theory of mimetic rivalry allows us to grasp the dynamics which do not only make this war an endless one but also contribute to its escalation. The theory of mimetic rivalry reveals that discourses and identities are shaped during the course of the violent relationship, the increasing inability of the adversaries to understand the motives of their opponents, and the extension of the field of rivalry. It constitutes an antidote to those explanations that radicalize and essentialize identities by denying the similarities that emerge from combat. It also constitutes an antithesis to those explanations based on the geopolitics of cultures and civilizations which feed ignorance on the dynamics at play in situations of violence.
Cultures & Conflits 123/124 (3/4), 2021