Accepted paper:

Including Chiefs, Maintaining Peace? Examining the Effects of State-Traditional Governance Interaction on Intra-State Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa


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.

panel P054
Political Representation in Fragile and Transitional States