P054


Political Representation in Fragile and Transitional States 
Convenor:
Theodora-Ismene Gizelis (University of Essex)
Send message to Convenor
Discussant:
Zoe Marks (Harvard University)
Format:
Panels
Location:
KH107
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 9:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:
1

Short Abstract:

This panel brings together scholars working on issues of political representation in fragile and transitional states. We focus on how the interests of various social groups are fought for (or against), and ultimately represented during and following a political crisis or conflict.

Long Abstract

Citizens are more likely to participate peacefully in politics when they feel that their interests are represented. Nowhere is the establishment of peaceful participation more important than in fragile and transitional states. Here, political representation is a high-stakes game, and often means access to the resources and inclusive growth required for constituents' sustainable well-being. How is political representation achieved or upheld during and following a political crisis or conflict? How can opposing social groups' competing interests be effectively represented in fragile and transitional states? How do external actors' such as donors and NGOs facilitate or obstruct effective representation? Beyond holding elections, how do other expressions of political interest (e.g. demonstrations or riots) further political representation? In this panel, five papers seek to provide answers to these and similar questions. We welcome empirical submissions analyzing the process of representation in fragile contexts from a political economy perspective. Submissions can focus on state agents and politicians and their role in political representation, as well as on actors beyond the state, e.g. ex-combatants or customary authorities and respective interests.

Accepted papers:

Author:

Jana Krause (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the gender dimensions of violence prevention in the context of communal conflict in the city of Jos, in central Nigeria, during times and in places regarded as highly vulnerable to clashes.

Paper long abstract:

Research has examined non-violence and civilian resistance in war, but the gender dimension of the prevention of killings has remained under-explored. We know that countries with higher levels of gender equality are less vulnerable to armed conflict, but little about whether this 'gender equality and peace hypothesis' has explanatory value at the micro-level of conflict-affected communities. This paper examines the gender dimensions of violence prevention in the context of communal conflict in the city of Jos, in central Nigeria, during times and in places regarded as highly vulnerable to clashes. My argument is two-fold: (1) bottom-up violence prevention efforts account for the observed absence of violence; and, (2) the transformation of militarized masculinities was constitutive for violence prevention because respect-building among youth at risk and restraint masculinities enabled the effective prevention of killings.

Author:

Pierre Englebert (Pomona College)

Paper short abstract:

We look at the difficulties of post-conflict reconstruction in Mali and put them in the perspective of long-term state construction problems for the country. We argue that Mali might not be a viable state and seek to understand who benefits and how from the current "reconstruction" efforts.

Paper long abstract:

It is often argued that Mali experienced a significant decline in governance and state capacity in the wake of its democratization in the 1990s which, combined with rising Tuareg secessionism and Islamist terror in the region in the wake of Qaddafi's overthrow in Libya in 2011, led to the breakdown of the Malian state in 2012. In this paper, we take a longer-term perspective and inquire to what extent Mali's weaknesses go back to its origins as a sovereign state in 1960 and whether it ever had the prerequisites for functional statehood in terms of territorial control, extractive capacity, governance or public service provision. We then question the extent to which current donor- and UN-sponsored reconstruction policies address Mali's fundamental weaknesses or reproduce them and discuss the implications of our argument and findings with respect to Mali's continued existence.

Author:

Theodora-Ismene Gizelis (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores the effects of Ebola related quarantines on civilian trust, using surveys in a community under quarantine and in a comparable community without quarantine. Early findings suggest that negative perceptions were exacerbated towards the police rather than the military.

Paper long abstract:

Quarantines were at the forefront of government response to Ebola in Liberia. The quarantines are a part of broader set of contentious policies that may have the negative effect of diminishing public trust in the government and in some cases even incite violence. To understand the effects of the quarantines on civilian trust in the government, we implemented two rounds of surveys in a community that received an Ebola related quarantine and in a comparable community that did not. In August 2014, the army quarantined West Point for several days, while Peace Island was not. The research design leverages a survey conducted in 2012 in both West Point and Peace Island that shows both communities to exhibit similar levels of trust in government, as well as wealth, education, and other demographic variables. By comparing changes in perceptions from before the Ebola epidemic to after the quarantines between the two communities West Point and Peace Island, the study estimates the effect of the quarantines on citizens' trust in government. Early findings suggest that some perceptions of the police and military decreased after Ebola. However, negative perceptions were exacerbated among the police rather than the military. Preferences for the police to respond to crime declined after Ebola, but remained the same for the military. In fact, people felt safer with military presence.

Author:

Katariina Mustasilta (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the effects of state-traditional governance interaction on intra-state peace in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1989-2012. The initial findings suggest that concordant, i.e. coordinated and defined, interaction decreases the likelihood of conflict onset.

Paper long abstract:

The continued influence of traditional governance in Sub-Saharan Africa has sparked increasing attention among scholars exploring the role of non-state and quasi-state forms of governance in the modern state. However, thus far little attentiveness has been given to cross-country and over-time variation in the interaction between the state and traditional governance structures, particularly in regards to its implications for intra-state peace. This study examines the conditions under which traditional governance contributes to state capacity to maintain peace. The paper argues that the type of interaction between the state and traditional governance structures influences the country's overall governance capacities and, hence, its capacity to maintain peace. The theoretical framework is tested on a new dataset of state-traditional governance interaction in Sub-Saharan Africa in the period 1989-2012. Combining this country-year data with intra-state armed conflict data, a systematic comparative analysis is conducted. The analysis suggests that concordant interaction between the two forms of governance reduces the risk of conflict onset. More specifically, integrating traditional authorities into the state administration appears to lower the risk of armed conflict in comparison to keeping traditional governance structures entirely parallel or unrecognised by the state.

Author:

Robtel Neajai Pailey (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Paper short abstract:

By converting ‘private activities & resources’ for public health service delivery during Ebola, Liberian domestic & diasporic non-government actors effectively broadcasted public authority at meso- & micro-levels previously assumed to be the domain of government & international institutions.

Paper long abstract:

Using the Ebola outbreak of 2014/2015 in Liberia as a case study, I demonstrate in this paper that by converting 'private activities and resources' for public health service delivery, Liberian domestic and diasporic non-government actors effectively broadcasted public authority at meso- and micro-levels previously assumed to be the exclusive domain of government and international institutions. Moving beyond the structural violence and state-building frameworks, I argue that while Liberia's pursuit of a vertical state-building agenda at the behest of international donors unraveled during Ebola, the public health measures employed by non-government Liberian actors were constituted by horizontal nation-building objectives thereby refashioning how we think about public authority in post-war states and beyond. My major contribution is a systematic documentation of how and why Liberians 'inside' and 'outside' the geographic territory of the post-war state used their individual and collective agency to eradicate Ebola, and why their interventions are important for a larger discussion about the trajectory of post-Ebola recovery. Though it is difficult to prove a causal relationship between the interventions of non-government Liberian actors and the gradual decline in Ebola incidence rates, I underscore important correlations between their public health measures and Ebola eradication.