Sub-Project C05: Threatened Political Orders in African Developing Countries

Abstract

The project examines the behaviours of identity groups within the context of threatened orders in African developing countries. In many states in this region, the stability of the existing political order is precarious. Public goods are not sufficiently provided and excluded population groups demand greater participation or autonomy, while at the same time governments resort to repressive measures in order to stay in power, despite immense social dissatisfaction. Under these conditions, identity groups have to decide how to (re-)shape the political order so that they can live in security and peace. Within this context, they can – in principle – pursue their goals with either violent or non-violent means. Drawing on social movement studies, the project looks at the role of so-called collective action frames in mobilising identity groups to undertake peaceful or violent protest action. In doing so, it studies discourses of threat and their consequences in terms of strategy choices made by identity groups from a social science perspective.

 

Project Team

Project Leader

Prof. Dr. Andreas Hasenclever

 

Ph.D. Students:

Jan Sändig, Dipl.-Pol.

Anne Theobald, Dipl.-Soz.

Tanja Granzow, M.A. (assoc. member)

 

Student Assistants:

Natalia Herberg, B.A.

Carmen Belafi, B.A.

 

Academic Disciplines and Orientation

Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies

 

Project Description

Theoretical Background

Around the world, armed intra-state conflicts are the most prevalent form of violent conflict and fundamentally threaten the survival of existing political orders. Since the end of the Cold War, scholarly attention in the field of conflict studies has thus shifted its focus from international wars to civil wars and other kinds of organised political violence.

 

The project brings together scholarship on civil wars and armed conflicts with theoretical approaches to understanding social movements. In current research on armed conflicts and civil wars, a number of political, economic, and social factors have been identified at the macro-level that affect the probability of armed confrontations. However, micro-mechanisms leading to the escalation of conflict into violence have barely been researched. Scholars in the field of social movement research, in contrast, have developed the framing concept as a micro-approach to analyse the mobilization of social support for protests. Framing suggests that there is no direct path leading from opportunity structures to organisation structures and the acquisition of resources in a social movement. Rather, social movements need programs that outline their goals and strategies in the form of so-called collective action frames (“frames” in short). These inter-subjective interpretative schemes simplify real situations and events in order to win over and mobilise followers as well as to demobilise potential opponents.

Approach

The project examines the behaviours of identity groups within the context of threatened orders in African developing countries. In many states in this region, the stability of the existing political order is precarious. Public goods are not sufficiently provided and excluded population groups demand greater participation or autonomy, while governments resort to repressive measures in order to stay in power despite immense social dissatisfaction. Under these conditions, identity groups have to decide how to (re-)shape the political order so that they can live in security and peace. Within this context, they can – in principle – pursue their goals with either violent or non-violent means. Empirical evidence shows that even under similar structural conditions, different protest behaviours can be observed: whereas many identity groups call for peaceful protest and act accordingly, others mobilise their supporters for violence and in fact make use of violence. Drawing on social movement studies, the project looks at the role of frames in mobilizing identity groups to undertake peaceful or violent protest action. In doing so, it studies threat discourses and their consequences in terms of strategy choices made by disadvantaged and threatened identity groups from a social science perspective.

 

The goal of the project is to identify micro-mechanisms that explain why identity groups choose to protest peacefully or violently against the state within the context of threatened orders. According to the project's working hypothesis, violent protest behaviour occurs if pro-violence elites successfully convince group members that the community is surrounded by a hostile environment (condition of exclusion), that their very existence is threatened (condition of threat), and that the use of violence promises success (prospect of success through violence). In contrast, groups protest peacefully when one or more of these conditions are not met. In order to determine whether discourses of threat decisively affect the behaviours of identity groups within the context of threatened orders, the project takes into account selective incentives, cultural factors, and coercive measures as alternative factors that can account for the use of violence. Additionally, it will look at opposing propaganda coming from the state and the ruling group that often try to deter disadvantaged identity groups from launching (violent) protests.

 

The goal of the project is to identify micro-mechanisms that explain why identity groups choose to protest peacefully or violently against the state within the context of threatened orders. According to the project's working hypothesis, violent protest behaviour occurs if pro-violence elites successfully convince group members that the community is surrounded by a hostile environment (condition of exclusion), that their very existence is threatened (condition of threat), and that the use of violence promises success (prospect of success through violence). In contrast, groups protest peacefully when one or more of these conditions are not met. In order to determine whether discourses of threat decisively affect the behaviours of identity groups within the context of threatened orders, the project takes into account selective incentives, cultural factors, and coercive measures as alternative factors that can account for the use of violence. Additionally, it will look at opposing propaganda coming from the state and the ruling group that often try to deter disadvantaged identity groups from launching (violent) protests.

 

The project compares group behaviour within and between different countries. Intra-state comparisons of different groups/sub-groups help to control for structural conditions, which makes it easier to identify micro-causes behind variations in behaviour. By comparing across countries, the explanatory power of framing accounting for different forms of political violence associated with varying degrees of violence can be tested.

 

Project-related Lectures and Publications

Hasenclever, Andreas

  • Keine Angst vor den Göttern – Überlegungen zum Gewalt- und Friedenspotential von Religionen in bewaffneten Konflikten, in: Politische Bildung 2012, 45:2, S. 84-102.
  • (Mit Jan Sändig): Nigeria – Gewaltursache Religion?, in: Werkner, Ines-Jacqueline, et al. (Hg.): Friedensgutachten 2014, Münster: Lit Verlag, 2014, S. 180-195.
  • (Mit Jan Sändig): Radikalisierung und Terrorismus im Westen (Der Bürger im Staat 4-2011).
  • 23.01.2013 - "Friedlicher Protest oder gewaltsame Rebellion? Die Reaktion ethnischer Gruppen auf Repression und Staatszerfall in Afrika." Vortrag im Rahmen des Studium Generale, Tübingen.
  • 29.06.2012 - "Zynische Gewalt – Überlegungen zur Rationalität von Bürgerkriegen"; Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops "Krieg und Bürgerkrieg", Universität Tübingen, Forum Scientiarum.
  • 21./22.06.2012 - "Religion Losing the Sacred – On the Secular Nature of Armed Conflicts"; Vortrag auf dem Internationalen Workshop "The Political Impact of Religious Activism", HU Berlin.
  • 22.05.2012 - "Macht und Moral: Zum bemerkenswerten Aufstieg der Menschenrechte in der internationalen Politik"; Vortrag im Rahmen des Studiums Generale "Human Rights and Human Wrongs – Menschenrechte zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit", Tübingen.
  • 18.11.2011 - "Macht und Moral: Normwandel und Normgeltung in den internationalen Beziehungen"; Vortrag zur 29. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Politikwissenschaft 2011: "Aspekte der Macht", Tutzing.

 

Granzow, Tanja

  • (mit Fabian Fechner, Jacek Klimek, Roman Krawielicki, Beatrice von Lüpke, Rebekka Nöcker) 'We are gambling with our survival.' Bedrohungskommunikation als Indikator für bedrohte Ordnungen, in: Aufruhr – Katastrophe – Konkurrenz – Zerfall. Bedrohte Ordnungen als Thema der Kulturwissenschaften, Bd.1 der SFB 923-Reihe ‚Bedrohte Ordnungen‘, hg. von Ewald Frie und Mischa Meier, Tübingen 2014, S. 141-173.
  • 03.09.2013 - "Violent vs. Non-Violent Struggle: Investigating the Impact of Frames on Movement Strategies in Yemen"; Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops: "Framing Political Violence: A Micro Approach to Civil War Studies", Tübingen, 02.-04.09.2013.
  • 11.01.2013 - "Framing Threat, Mobilizing Violence: Micro-Mechanisms of Conflict Escalation among the Huthis and al-Hiraak"; Vortrag auf der Konferenz "Yemen: Challenges for the Future" von BYS, LMEI und der University of London.

 

Sändig, Jan

  • 21.02.2015 - "The Shortage of Protest by the Biafra Movement in Contemporary Nigeria"; 56th International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans.
  • (Mit Andreas Hasenclever): Nigeria – Gewaltursache Religion?, in: Werkner, Ines-Jacqueline, et al. (Hg.): Friedensgutachten 2014, Münster: Lit Verlag, 2014, S. 180-195.
  • Nigerias Sicherheitskräfte verstoßen gegen Menschenrechte (Anklagen, Amnesty International, Ausgabe Herbst 2013, ab S. 3). Link zur PDF
  • (mit Prof. Dr. Andreas Hasenclever): Radikalisierung und Terrorismus im Westen (Der Bürger im Staat 4-2011).
  • 30.09.2014 - "Framing Protest and Insurgency: Boko Haram and MASSOB in Nigeria”, International Conference 'Dynamics of Social Change and Perceptions of Threat' German Historical Institute London, UK.
  • 22.05.2014 - "The Renewed Demand for Biafra: A Framing Analysis of the Biafra Movement in Contemporary Nigeria", 12th Annual International Conference of the Igbo Studies Association, Chicago, USA.
  • 03.09.2013 - "Explaining violent and peaceful protest: Boko Haram and the Biafra movement in contemporary Nigeria", Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops "Framing political violence: A micro-approach to civil war studies", Universität Tübingen, 2.-4.09.2013.
  • 28.06.2013 - "Why Non-Violence? A Framing Analysis of the Neo-Biafra Movement"; Vortrag auf der PSS-ISA Joint International Conference, Budapest.
  • 29.05.2013 - "Why is there no Rebel Rising 'under the Rising Sun'? The Non-Violent Struggle for Biafra in Contemporary Nigeria"; Vortrag auf dem Matariki-Netzwerk Research Workshop "Nonviolent Conflicts: Research Challenges and Synergies", Uppsala.
  • 19.04.2013 – "Staatszerfall, Statebuilding und Gewalteskalation"; Vortrag im Rahmen des Seminars "Failed States: Bedrohte Ordnungen und zerfallende Staaten", Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg in Kooperation mit dem Leibniz-Kolleg, Bad Urach.
  • 24.01.2013 - (mit Anne Theobald) "Bedrohte Unordnung? Staatenbildung in Somalia"; Vortrag im Rahmen der Vortragsreihe "Politik ist überall", Universität Tübingen.
  • 07.12.2012 - (mit Anne Theobald) "Die Bedrohung politischer Ordnungen in afrikanischen Entwicklungsländern"; Vortrag auf dem Kolloquium des SFB 923, Universität Tübingen.
  • 02.06.2012 - "Protest and insurgency in Nigeria: The puzzling cases of MASSOB and Boko Haram"; 25th Annual Conference of the German Peace Psychology Association "Perpetrators and Victims of Collective Violence", Konstanz.
  • 03.04.2012 - "Framing Rebellion: Social Movements, Frames, and Insurgency in Nigeria"; 53rd International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego.

 

Theobald, Anne

  • Rezension zu: Patel, Rashida: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Pakistan. Oxford/New York, 2010, in: Journal of Peace, Conflict & Development. Issue 19, 2012, S. 83-85.
  • The Role of Women in Making and Building Peace in Liberia. Gender Sensitivity versus Masculinity. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2012.
  • 29.11.2014 - "Making a Case for a New State: The Barotseland Self-Determination Struggle from a Framing Perspective"; bei der 5.Graduiertenkonferenz "Borders of Orders. Grenzziehungen, Konflikte und soziale Ordnung" des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen", Frankfurt/Main.
  • 26.03.2014 - "Claiming one's territory by violent and non-violent means: The framing and strategic action of self-determination movements"; Vortrag bei der 55. Annual Convention "Spaces and Places: Geopolitics in an Era of Globalization" der International Studies Association, Toronto.
  • 03.09.2013 - "Successful collective action or failed rebellion? The Casamance conflict from a Framing perspective", Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops "Framing political violence: A micro-approach to civil war studies", Universität Tübingen, 2.-4.09.2013.
  • 29.08.2013 - "A social movement approach to violent and non-violent self-determination conflicts in Africa"; Vortrag auf der 11th Conference of the European Sociological Association "Crisis, Critique and Change", Turin.
  • 27.06.2013 - "To Rebel or to March for Freedom? Explaining the Use of Violent or Non-Violent Protest Strategies of Self-Determination Movements by Reference to Framing"; Vortrag im Rahmen der 5th European Conference on African Studies "African dynamics in a multipolar world".
  • 19.04.2013 - "Failed State Somalia? Eine kritische Betrachtung von (gescheiterter) Staatlichkeit"; Vortrag im Rahmen des Seminars "Failed States: Bedrohte Ordnungen und zerfallende Staaten" der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg in Kooperation mit dem Leibniz-Kolleg, Bad Urach.
  • 24.01.2013 - (mit Jan Sändig) "Bedrohte Unordnung? Staatenbildung in Somalia"; Vortrag im Rahmen der Vortragsreihe "Politik ist überall", Universität Tübingen.
  • 07.12.2012 - (mit Jan Sändig) "Die Bedrohung politischer Ordnungen in afrikanischen Entwicklungsländern"; Vortrag auf dem Kolloquium des SFB 923, Universität Tübingen.
  • 12.10.2012 - "Is Women’s Participation in Peace Processes the Key to Gender-Sensitive Post-Conflict Orders? Peace between Gender Sensitivity and Masculinity"; Zentrumstage "The Constitution of Peace: Current Debates and Future Perspectives", Center for Conflict Studies of the Philipps University in Marburg.
  • 02.06.2012 - "Choosing violence: How framing can help to elucidate collective violence"; 25th Annual Conference of the German Peace Psychology Association "Perpetrators and Victims of Collective Violence", Konstanz.
  • 04.04.2012 - "To Rebel or Not to Rebel? How Framing Can Help to Explain Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa"; 17th International Conference "Alternative Futures and Popular Protest", Manchester Metropolitan University.

 

Congresses, Workshops, and Conferences

  • 02./03.09.2013 - Workshop "Framing Political Violence: A Micro Approach to Civil War Studies", Tübingen. Workshop Report in PDF-Format.

 

 

Rebellen der Oromo Liberation Front in Äthiopien (Foto von Jonathan Alpeyrie, Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Licence)
Rebellen der Oromo Liberation Front in Äthiopien (Foto von Jonathan Alpeyrie, Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Licence)