Accepted Paper:

Constructing alternative sociability in the southeast of Niger: what is the place of Boko Haram?  


Tatiana Smirnova (CESSMA (Paris-Diderot-INALCO-IRD))

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyses alternative sociabilities as part of survival strategies based on different forms of violence. In this context, Boko Haram appears as a sophisticated dispositive embedding multiple narratives of violence into the social network.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on the analysis of multiform logic of exclusions (economic, social and connected to the use of land), the paper proposes studying the construction and reconfiguration of alternative sociability. This sociability is part of livelihood and survival strategies of the displaced population in the southeastern region of Niger concerned by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Social Network Analysis allowed a graphical visualization of alternative networks, identifying specific categories of actors that are weakely connected (within an important "geodesic distance") to different kind of authorities (administrative, religious, customary or humanitarian. This population (e.g. prostitutes, drug deals/vendors, gasoline resellers etc.) is getting through diverse forms of violence, constitutive of alternative sociability. While the violence may be inflicted on the society, caused by the society or by the armed group, the paper shows the complexity and plurality of its interpretations. In this context Boko Haram is acting as a sophisticated dispositive by embedding diverse narratives of violence into the social network of the displaced population in the southeast of Niger. What kind of new identities these narratives are producing? What is the place of Boko Haram in the construction of alternative sociability?

The contribution drives from more than one hundred qualitative interviews conducted during the field research through 2017-2018 in the southeast of Niger.

Panel Pol18
The rural frontiers of Jihad: militant careers, political economies and network governance in West and Central Africa