Accepted paper:

From local agro-pastoral conflicts to large-scale ethnic cleansing: escalating violence and fractal social structure in Adamawa, Cameroon.

Authors:

Quentin Gausset (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses violent encounters between pastoralist Fulani and agriculturalist Kwanja at different scales (inter-personal, village level and inter-ethnic) and argues that, despite major differences in the object, frequency and level of violence, all these conflicts share the same roots.

Paper long abstract:

Are genocides barbaric, inhuman and irrational acts? Or are they just up-scaled versions of smaller conflicts? The present paper analyses violent encounters in Cameroon between pastoralist Fulani and agriculturalist Kwanja at different scales (inter-personal, village level and inter-ethnic) and argues that, despite major differences in the object, frequency and level of violence, all these conflicts share the same roots: a lack or a failure of legitimate institutions to manage conflicts relating to different livelihoods, customary laws, ethnic and religious identities. Understanding large-scale and small-scale conflicts within a same (fractal) social structure makes it easier to grasp the complexities of large-scale conflicts and opens up for new ways of thinking about conflict prevention, focusing on social interactions and social structure, on the longer-term and at a variety of scales simultaneously rather than focusing on rarer episodes of violence at the highest level (the approach adopted by the international criminal court, for example).

panel W083
Social interaction, shifting scales of analysis and anthropological theory. Interaction sociale, jeux d'échelles analytiques et théorie anthropologique. atelier bilingue / bilingual workshop