Accepted paper:

The role of transnational networks in mitigating uncertainty: Herders and hunters in Côte d'Ivoire's northern borderlands

Authors:

Doua Bandhé Prisca Mori (University of Basel)
Katharina Heitz Tokpa (Universität Basel)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution analyses what role transnational networks play in mitigating uncertainties in the life of two social groups – farmer-hunters and cattle herders – in the border triangle of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali.

Paper long abstract:

Borderlands are said to bear particularly high levels of insecurity and uncertainty. This contribution analyses what role transnational networks play in mitigating uncertainties in the life of two social groups - farmer-hunters and cattle herders - in the border triangle of Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali. In the literature, herders and hunters are often portrayed as two distinct, sometimes opposing groups. Whereas the farmer-hunters are described as the 'sedentary' landowners, the Fulani are said to be a highly mobile cattle-herding group. However, in times of socio-economic uncertainties and new means of transportation, people with various backgrounds and livelihoods use mobility to mitigate uncertainties and search for more opportunities elsewhere. Hunters, too, maintain far-reaching networks and often have several anchor points in both rural and urban areas across the borderland. In our paper, we will compare social networks and patterns of mobility of both groups - herders and hunters - and question the opposing ways these two groups have been portrayed in terms of mobility, livelihoods and networks. At an empirical level, we will analyse how families in the borderland organize their lives across rural, urban and transnational spheres. We will ask to what extent ICT is used to maintain transnational relations and examine what role citizenship plays in the borderland. From an analytical point of view, we will explore to what extent it makes sense to speak of networks rather than of social relations more generally and show what an analytical lens of networks may reveal.

panel P076
The Role of Networks in Rural-Urban-Transnational Encounters: The Mobility of People, Ideas and Spaces