Burr argues that “surrounding any one object...
there may be a variety of differentdiscourses, each with a different story to tell about the object in question, a different way of representing it to the world
1995:48). In the realm of conflict analysis, a variety of idiosyncraticallyeclectic discourses have been created regarding diamonds, forming a kaleidoscope through whichconflicts are interpreted.
Among these, the ‘blood diamond’
have come to symbolize
heart of the mat
ter’ in the ‘heart of darkness’” (Le Billon,
2003:59),have dominated discursive space
in regards to so called ‘resource conflicts’
since the end of the ColdWar. Lahiri-Dutt (2006) attributes this representation to a bewilderment which struck politicaltheorists when forced to recognise that ideology could no longer be blamed for all politicalinstability, and the search started for another scapegoat to mobilise against. Within this discourse,diamonds are interpreted as a source for political instability, which could potentially lead to civil war.The principal promoters of this narrative are Collier and Hoeffler (henceforth C-H) who have
developed the ‘greed thesis’, resting on the premise that civil wars are caused by rebel greed
ratherthan grievances. However, increasing arrays of voices are being raised in opposition to the greedthesis.The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it aims to synthesise the critique which have formedagainst the
‘greed thesis’ and, ultimately,
discredit its validity. However, being aware that this topicis discussed
, the essay recognises that to make a novel contribution to the field, it needsto go further.
Guided by Bleiker’s claim that the “difference between the represented and its
representation is th
e very location of politics” (2001:510)
, this essay aims to unveil
how the ‘blooddiamond’ discourse transcends C
H’s thesis and influences the critique posed
against it, affectinghow conflicts are conceptualised, by whom, and by what means they are being dealt with. Theargumentative point of departure is that it is not diamonds as physical resources which determinethe nature of conflict but, rather, the constructed discourses of diamonds which determine conflictanalysis.
Adopting Burr’s definition of discourse as “a system of statements which constructs anobject” (
1995:48), the case of diamonds has been selected because of the constructed discoursessurrounding it. The reviewed literature is almost exclusively drawn from secondary sources, aconscious choice since the research aim is to investigate how academia is influenced by existingdiscourses and (re)produces them. Given the vastness of the topic, I recognise that there will beliterature which is unintentionally left out. However, the reviewed literature gives, to my knowledge,a fair representation of the different viewpoints and, moreover, deemed useful in demonstrating thestated aims.