Accepted Paper:

Community formation and political contestation in Kaduna State, Nigeria  


Henrik Angerbrandt (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of the paper is to analyse the ways in which different dimensions of scalar relations are interweaved with the formation of community and political contestations. The paper examines ethnic/religious conflicts in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria with a focus on the Christian groups.

Paper long abstract:

Kaduna State in northern Nigeria has since the late 1980s suffered frequent violent, 'communal', crises between mainly ethnic Hausa-Fulani Muslims and ethnically mixed Christians. This paper analyses the ways in which the conflict is entangled in different scalar configurations with implications for the formation of communities and the claiming and exercise of political authority. A relational approach to scale and place invites a reconsideration of the community concept. Community formation and the struggle over places rely on relations that go beyond the local or a limited space. Different actors seek to invoke scalar dimensions that support their social and political pursuits. The paper links the scalar discussions to the distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft in order to identify different aspects of how the conflict is structured. Both types of social relations are here seen to have their specific scalar configurations. The analysis focuses on the ways in which the conflict is comprehended from a Christian, 'Southern Kaduna' perspective and draws on fieldwork data. Issues discussed include the basis for religious unity in a historical perspective, different types of authorities and their legitimacy as well as the impact of this for matters of social and political inclusion/exclusion. The paper aims to show how scale and community are important parts of the contested social and political relations in Kaduna State.

Panel P027
Territory and community: the scalar dimensions of political authority, identity and conflict in contemporary Africa