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Conflict framing as a self-fulfilling prophecy? 
Lotje de Vries (Wageningen University)
Manatouma Kelma (University of Antilles)
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Politics and International Relations (x) Violence and Conflict Resolution (y)
Philosophikum, S54
Saturday 3 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel investigates if and how conflicts on the African continent evolve in the direction of its dominating explanatory framings. We ask in what ways discourses on conflict become a self-fulfilling prophecy, what its effects may be, and what is lost out of sight as a result.

Long Abstract:

While conflict dynamics across the African continent find their origin in a range of root causes, the subsequent expansion and deepening of conflict and violence arguably are also shaped by (incomplete) explanatory frameworks that follow an outbreak of violence. (Social) media discourse, scientific analysis, or expert commentary provide explanatory frameworks that can shape ways of thinking (and acting) in and on conflict. Meanwhile, sensemaking occurs at different levels in society and local understandings and motivations may well differ from regional and international explanations. Across the African continent, explanatory frames —e.g. farmer-herder conflict, religious violence, or jihadist rebellions— have come to dominate more fine-grained understandings. Arguably, such transnational explanatory frames offer opportunities for conflict entrepreneurs. For instance, in the past decades, the role of social media as a factor in framing conflicts has increased, and its role will continue to grow in the future of current and new conflicts. This panel unpacks in how far discourses (re)orient conflict dynamics into specific directions, what is lost out of sight as a result, and what its consequences may be. We are interested in innovative methodologies to study conflict framings and their effects. We welcome contributions based on critical, empirical research in fields such as political science, anthropology, and geography, and are particularly interested in work by young and early career scholars.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -