G. Klute / B. Embaló (eds.): The Problem of Violence – Local Conflict Settlement in Contemporary Africa [PDF]


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TIAS Topics in Interdisciplinary African Studies Volume 21

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VIII, 480 pp.
2 colour maps

Text languages: English, French

Violence and weakness seem to be dominant features of state rule in Guinea-Bissau. This holds true for the whole period of state presence, since the beginning of colonial rule at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century up to the present day. The political history of independent Guinea-Bissau is like­wise marked by violence and state weakness. Periods of latent crisis within the country’s political and military elites tend to lead to violent conflict, ending in change of government, mostly through military coups. Although Guinea-Bissau’s political struggle appears to be largely limited to the country’s elite, it affects the population, too, causing at times the loss of numerous civilian lives. The violent character of the state is hardly softened by state services and economic support for the population. On the contrary, seen from the people’s perspective, the state is mostly “absent”.

It is in this context of an “authoritarian and absent state” that a conference on Violence and Non-State Local Conflict Management in West Africa and Beyond took place in Bissau in early De­cember 2008. Forty scholars from more than a dozen African and European countries responded to the conference call and presented their findings. The first challenge the participants were confronted with was to associate theoretical oriented papers and case studies reflecting practical ex­periences. Paraphrasing Kant’s famous saying, Trutz von Trotha asked for the orientation of empirical experiences at theory and for the grounding of theory in empirical evidence. This the editors hope to fulfil with the present volume.

It goes without saying that the contributions differ in priorities and perspectives: from empirical case studies analysing specific conflicts to the study of figurations and dynamics of violence, from modes and institutions of conflict resolution, mostly on the non-state level, theoretical reasoning on the state and alternative non-state sovereignties in contemporary Africa, reflections on ongoing democratisation processes, including their political and cultural contexts, to heterogeneous power claims in African societies in the light of democratic pluralism.


Georg Klute / Birgit Embaló: Introduction – Violence and Local Modes of Conflict Resolution in Heterarchical Figurations

I. Theoretical Insights — Violence, Degrees of Heterarchy and Dimensions of Local Non-State Order
Trutz von Trotha: The Problem of Violence – Some Theoretical Remarks about ‘Regulative Orders of Violence’, Political Heterarchy, and Dispute Regulation beyond the State
Dieter Neubert: Competing Orders and the Limits of Local Forms of Socio-Political Organisation

II. Political Violence and the Process of Democratisation in Sub-Saharan Africa
Isaïe Dougnon: Les élites, les masses populaires et les forces armées – Les changements politiques et les conflits en Afrique au Sud du Sahara
Cecil Magbaily Fyle: Culture and Nationalism – Ingredients of Statehood and Conflict Resolution in Africa
Abderrahmane Ngaïde: Violences politiques et dérives autoritaires en Mauritanie (1984–2005)

III. Emergence of Heterarchical Political Figurations
Christiane Kayser: Conflict, Ethnicity and Resources – The Governance Challenge of Eastern D.R. Congo
Mamadú Jao: Étude de cas – Résolution du conflit opposant Mandingue de Djabicunda et Peulh de Timbinto en 2005, dans la région de Bafata

IV. Legal Reality in Heterarchical Figurations: Modes of Conflict Resolution and Dimensions of Legal Pluralism
Maria Paula Meneses: Cultural Diversity and the Law – Legal Pluralism in Mozambique
Fodé Abulai Mané: Une nouvelle approche du pluralisme juridique – « la conception juridique individuelle »
Birgit Embaló: Bairro Militar (Bissau) – A Hot Spot of Urban Violence? Challenges of Local Conflict Resolution in Guinea-Bissau
Caterina Gomes Viegas: L’ambiguïté du pouvoir des femmes et les conflits de succession chez les Pepel de Guinée-Bissau
Paulina Mendes: La dimension des praxis mandji dans la dynamique socioculturelle du groupe ethnique Manjak
Jordi Tomàs: Dealing with Conflicts during Religious Ceremonies – Notes on the Joola-huluf Case (Casamance, Senegal)

V. Neo-Traditional Non-State Order or Chieftaincies
Reinhart Kössler: Traditional Leadership, Local Control and the Rule of Law in Southern Africa
Petr Skalník: Inter-ethnic Conflicts in Northern Ghana – Causes, Solutions, Theory

VI. Violent Conflicts — Fields and Local Modes of Resolution
Bakary Camara: L’équation de la gestion de l’eau dans la région du Bafing au Mali – Cas du cercle de Bafoulabé
Abdoul Aziz Sow: Décentralisation, domanialité nationale et gestion des conflits fonciers à l’aune du pluralisme juridique au Sénégal
Idrissa Embaló: Borderland and Violent Political Conflict – The Case of the Casamance/Guinea-Bissau Border
Raul Mendes Fernandes: Dilemmes et conflits aux îles Bijagós
Stephen Okhonmina: The Dynamics of Local Conflicts in its Regional and National Scale – Cases from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Mali
Joshua B. Forrest: Development Theory, Social Violence, and Conflict Resolution – Guinea-Bissau in Global Context
Alice Bellagamba: “Silence is Medicine!” – The End of Slavery and the Promotion of Social Coexistence in Post-Abolition Gambia

Biographical Notes on the Authors

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