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Conflict and Fragility

Military in N'Djamena/Chad

Military in N'Djamena/Chad

| © Helga Dickow

Shifts in norms, group-specific perceptions, and colonial continuities influence current conflicts. Complex dynamics of escalation and de-escalation arise through the interplay of local, national and international actors and institutions, especially in areas marked by ‘fragility’. We therefore analyse the political economy of conflict in a context-specific manner, including the composition of social forces, actors’ interests, and marginalization in divided societies. 

Conflicts can spread from local hotspots in the periphery to neighbouring or urban areas or vice versa from the capital to the hinterland. Conflicts do not arise out of the blue. Political, religious, and ethnic actors promote (violent) conflicts by mobilising identities in their quest for power, resources, and material gain. They often base their strategies on historical cleavages within societies. Conflict regulation mechanisms, on the other hand, can counteract violent escalation.

We contribute to the understanding of conflict mechanisms and the conditions for peace promotion by comparatively analysing processes in and from the Global South. In particular, topics and regions that are rarely on the agenda in the Global North. For example, local peace initiatives and transnational justice movements on questions of restitution for violent colonial appropriation. We also pay attention to power asymmetries between North and South as well as conflict constellations within the Global South.

Researchers at the Institute investigate selected conflicts on the ground in close collaboration with colleagues from the Global South. We conduct research over extended periods of time, even if the conflicts are not, not yet or no longer in the headlines. We believe that a lack of political interest can miss potential windows of opportunity for peaceful conflict resolution. In addition to academic activities, we therefore also advise public institutions and speak out in the media.

Coordinator: Helga Dickow

Glawion, Tim / Anne-Clémence Le Noan (2023): Rebel governance or governance in rebel territory? Extraction and services in Ndélé, Central African republic, in: Small Wars & Insurgencies, 34 (1), pp. 24-51. 

Glawion, Tim / Lotje de Vries (2023): Studying insecurity from relative safety — Dealing with methodological blind spots, in: Qualitative Research, 23 (4), pp. 883-899.

Glawion, Tim (2023): Cross-case patterns of security production in hybrid political orders: their shapes, ordering practices, and paradoxical outcomes, in: Peacebuilding, 11 (2), pp. 169-184.

Dickow, Helga (2022): Satisfaction With The Status Quo: Why has Religious Terrorism not yet Gained Ground In Chad?, in: Contemporary Journal of African Studies, 9/2, pp. 147-186

Gez, Yonatan N. / Beider, Nadia / Dickow, Helga (2021): African and Not Religious: The State of Research on Sub-Saharan Religious Nones and New Scholarly Horizons, in: Africa Spectrum, 57/1, pp. 50-71

Glawion, Tim (2020): The Security Arena in Africa Local Order-Making in the Central African Republic, Somaliland, and South Sudan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Caroline A. Hartzell / Andreas Mehler, eds. (2019): Power Sharing and Power Relations After Civil War, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers

Mehler, Andreas, Lotje de Vries (2018): "The limits of instrumentalizing disorder: Reassessing the neopatrimonial perspective in the Central African Republic", in: African Affairs

Helga Dickow (2018): Tschad: Die schleichende Islamisierung? in: Blätter für deutsche und interntionale Politik

Glawion, Tim / Lotje de Vries/ Andreas Mehler (2018): Handle with Care! A Qualitative Comparison of the Fragile States Index's Bottom Three Countries: Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan, in: Development and Change

Zanker, Franzisca / Andreas Mehler (2018): Territorialisation in Post-Conflict Contexts. Claims to Space and Conflict Management, in: Ulf Engel, MarcBoeckler, Detlev Müller-Mahn (Hrsg.): Spatial Practices. Territory, Border and Infrastructure in Africa, Leiden/Boston: Brill, 80-94

Mehler, Andreas, De Vries Lotje (2018): Les Conditions marginales du néopatrimonialisme performant: Pourquoi l’Afrique ne « marche » pas dans la République centrafricaine, ABI Working Paper 8

Schütze, B. (2017): Simulating, marketing, and playing war: US–Jordanian military collaboration and the politics of commercial security, in: Security Dialogue, Vol. 48, No. 5, pp. 431-50

Zanker, F. (2017): Legitimacy in Peacebuilding: Rethinking Civil Society Involvement in Peace Negotiations, Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution; Abingdon: Routledge

Zanker, F. (2017): Moving Beyond Hybridity: The Multi-Scalar Adaptation of Community Policing in Liberia, in: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 11(2), pp.166-185

Zanker, F.; Simons C.; Mehler, A. (2015): Power, Peace, and Space in Africa.Revisiting Territorial Power Sharing, in: African Affairs, 114/ 454, 72–91

Dickow, H. (2014): Autoritäre Strukturen im Tschad: Macht aus der Sicht derer, die sie nicht haben, in: Sociologus 64/1, S. 53-78

Dickow, H. (2014): Chadian Identity Cleavages and their Markers. The Competing,Overlapping or Cross-Cutting Pattern of Ethnic and Religious Affiliation, in: Leiner, Martin u.a. (Hg.): Societies in Transition. Sub-Saharan Africa
between Conflict and Reconciliation",Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen, S. 33-46

Mehler, A. (2014): Why Federalism Did Not Lead to Secession in Cameroon, in: Ethnopolitics, 13/1, 48-66

Zanker, F. (2014): Legitimate Representation: Civil Society Actors in Peace Negotiations Revisited, in: International Negotiation, 19, 1, pp.62 – 88

Dickow, H. (2013): Machtkampf im Sahel: Mali und  die Folgen, in: Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 6, S. 29-32

Mehler, A. (2013): Consociationalism for Weaklings, Autocracy for Muscle Men? Determinants of Constitutional Reform in Divided Societies, in: Civil Wars, Special Issue 1, 15, 21-4

Simons, C.; Zanker, F.; Mehler, A.; Tull, D. (2013): Power-sharing in Africa’s war zones: how important is the local level?, in: Journal of Modern African Studies, 51/4, 681-706

Mehler, A. (2012): Why Security Forces Do Not Deliver Security: Evidence from Liberia and the Central African Republic, in: Armed Forces and Society, 1/ 38, 46-69

Dickow, H. (2012): Religion and Attitudes toward s Life in South Africa. Pentecostals, Charismatics and Reborns, Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Dickow, H. (2012): Der Tschad und seine unruhigen Nachbarn, in: Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 2, S. 30-34

Workshop „The Long-Term: Tracing Legacies of Violence in francophone Equatorial Africa“, Libreville (2018)

VAD African Connections Panel 24 Bassin du lac Tchad : L'Islam tolérant menacé par la violence?, Leipzig (2018)

Workshop: Access to Justice in Burundi, Freiburg (2018)

Workshop and panel discussion (in cooperation with Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung) : Keine Berichterstattung – Kein Problem? Die vergessene Krise in Burundi und die Medien, Freiburg (2018)

The Role of Narratives and Power in the Construction and Legitimation of Post-Conflict Regimes. The Case of Ethiopia's Derg (1974-91) and EPRDF (1991-2012) Regimes. (Catherine Ng’ang’a

"Customary Laws and Chieftancy Succession Plans for Nanung: A Way Forward for Chieftaincy Conflict Management in Ghana" (Michael Cobb, completed 2022)