P027
Rural-urban cleavages in the Congolese conflicts

Convenors:
Christoph Vogel (University of Zurich)
Randi Solhjell (Norwegian Police University College)
Discussant:
Koen Vlassenroot (tbc)
Format:
Panels
Location:
KH112
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Violence in the eastern parts of the Congo (DRC) has engaged generations of scholars in a struggle to identify causes and dynamics of subsequent, intertwined cycles of armed conflict. One of the lenses that have hitherto not been sufficiently addressed is the relation of urban and rural cleavages.

Long abstract:

The persistent violence in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have engaged generations of scholars in a struggle to identify root causes and functional dynamics of subsequent and intertwined cycles of armed conflict and mobilization. One of the lenses that have hitherto not been sufficiently addressed is the relation of urban and rural cleavages - both in relations to the country's faraway capital Kinshasa, as well as in the two most affected provinces, North and South Kivu and its major urban hubs Goma, Bukavu, Beni, Butembo, and Uvira. This panel aims at unraveling the 'city-hinterland' relations when it comes to both patterns and perception of conflict. The DRC's geography of violence both features the insecurity of remote areas from more stable cities and the intricate trans-local linkages between rurally operating conflict parties and their urban political overhaul. At the same time, both actors in the various conflicts as well as the wider population and international actors are continuously subject to knowledge gaps and, consequently, prone to develop bias and prejudice. In order to untangle these cleavages, we seek contributions that take on the rural-urban prism to inquire new conceptual approaches and empirical case studies in order to develop innovative analysis of the political economy and ecology behind the Congolese conflicts.