Anth32
Violent conflict and urban governance [CRG Violent Conflict]

Convenors:
Karen B├╝scher (Ghent University)
Discussant:
Gillian Mathys (Ghent University)
Stream:
Social Anthropology
Location:
Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 4
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45-10:30
Wednesday 12 June, 10:45-12:30

Short abstract:

This panel investigates the relationship between dynamics of violent conflict in Africa and the changing nature of urban governance. The panel wants to invite papers on African urban dynamics of security and insecurity, and the provision of urban governance in a larger context of violent conflict.

Long abstract:

This panel investigates the relationship between dynamics of violent conflict in Africa and the changing nature of urban governance. African cities are arenas in which fragmented power groups all lay competing claims of political, economic, spatial and social control over the city, resulting in a divided urban society where key actors continuously challenge each others' legitimacy to 'govern' the urban space. Sometimes these struggles can turn violent and form the basis for different forms of urban violence and conflict. This violent potential is very case-dependent an is heavily influenced by the nature of actors and organisations involved. On the other hand, dynamics of violent conflict strongly reinforce these struggles and have sharpened (ethnic, social, religious) fault lines within urban societies. In long-term situations of violence and instability, fragmentation of the politico-military landscape affected the cohesion between and within different communities. Violent conflict also changes the nature of actors involved in exercising urban governance; dynamics of war, humanitarian- peacekeeping- and peacebuilding interventions have introduced a variety of 'new' actors such as armed groups, formal and informal protection entrepreneurs, self-defence groups, peace-keeping forces and humanitarian agencies to practices of urban governance. Finally, violent conflict dynamics also influenced the nature of urban governance in the sense that it has brought the issue of protection and security to the core of claims on legitimacy and public authority. This panel invites papers on African urban dynamics of security and insecurity, and the provision of urban governance in a larger context of violent conflict.