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Customary authorities, violent conflict and peace in Africa 
Jeremy Speight (University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Matthew Mitchell (University of Saskatchewan)
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Jeremy Speight (University of Alaska Fairbanks)
janine ubink (Leiden Law school)
Politics and International Relations (x) Violence and Conflict Resolution (y)
Philosophikum, S61
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel invites submissions focusing on the diverse contributions of customary authorities to peace and conflict in Africa. Papers examine a set of interrelated questions regarding the role customary actors play in initiating, sustaining and peaceably resolving violent conflict.

Long Abstract:

Interdisciplinary scholarship widely acknowledges the enduring role of customary authorities in contemporary African politics. These actors often play key roles in the provision of public goods, land governance or as party brokers in electoral mobilization. Yet there is a dearth of literature on the potential role of traditional elites in promoting or mitigating violent conflict. This panel invites the submission of papers examining the relationship between customary authority and peace and violence in Africa. For example, how do customary authorities contribute to the escalation or de-escalation of conflict over identity and belonging? What types of pre-conflict arrangements between non-state actors and formal state institutions lead to or mitigate violence? During armed conflict, how do customary authorities shape the governance systems constructed by armed groups? Under what conditions does rebel governance alter, erode or entrench the customary powers of these types of actors? Finally, under what conditions does the devolution of governance functions to customary authorities in weak post-conflict states mitigate conflict, or risk fueling violence? How can these actors support formal transitional initiatives such as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs or power-sharing? How does the formal constitutional recognition of customary authority support or undermine peace? This panel invites submissions focusing on these and other questions addressing the diverse contributions of customary authorities to peace and conflict in Africa.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -