September, 2012 archive

Seminar (Leiden): Violence, Informal Authority and Conflict Resolution in Kano, Nigeria

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

For several decades, northern Nigeria has been plagued by recurrent episodes of low-level, high-intensity collective violence in the form of riots, communal clashes and now attacks by Boko Haram. In the context of metropolitan Kano, the major urban centre of the region, this seminar will consider some of the ways in which this violence can be prevented or reduced. More specifically, it will analyse the agency of informal authorities in conflict resolution: traditional rulers, religious leaders, ethnic community leaders and neighbourhood elders. It will argue that while some areas of peace building and conflict resolution fall exclusively within the mandate of formal state authorities, informal authorities can play an important role in shaping public intergroup perceptions and (de)mobilizing for collective violence. Authorities outside the state therefore have considerable potential for ‘discursive’ influence regarding conflict and violence, complementing the more material and coercive power of the state.

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