PhD Seminar – Practices of social control and construction of public authority : comparative perspectives from Lagos to Khartoum, by Lucie REVILLA

On Thursday 20th April 2017, at 1 pm, Lucie REVILLA, a French PhD student at Sciences Po Bordeaux University, will present her PhD research in CEDEJ Khartoum on:

« Practices of social control and construction of public authority : comparative perspectives from Lagos to Khartoum »

« This presentation aims to analyze the construction of public and social authority at the scale of the neighborhood in Lagos and Khartoum. After a fieldwork of four months in Lagos and six months in Khartoum, the presentation will present the first results of a comparative ethnographic research.

My main questions deal with the figures of social authority and the practices of social control. How the public authority is exercised and who embodies it? Therefore, how it is translated in terms of social control practices?

This research focuses on the institutions in charge of the maintenance of order and the conflict management at the lowest scale in the two most populated cities in Africa. Those institutions are the popular committees in Khartoum and the Community Development Associations in Lagos, which represent the most important local intermediary between people and the State in those two metropolis.

Moreover, the research highlights the role of the revitalization of Native Administration by the Lagos and the Khartoum States in some popular areas. To maintain order and in some extent to make everyday justice, the two have used their colonial legacy, using « old » tools to build a new state legitimacy. To sum up, this work consists in highlighting the role played by traditional rulers and grassroots governmental organizations in Lagos and Khartoum in exercising public authority and maintaining order at local scale. « Active citizen » written on the door of the former president of the popular committee in El Fatih 2.

Such leading figure is at the intersection of many dynamics. Intermediary for the implementation of a international program of local participation, intermediary with the locality and in charge of the security and the conflict management, he is also selling electricity and providing some services to the neighborhood (such as consulting for commercial business, phone credit etc). The members of the popular committees are at the interface of many local issues, especially providing services, and have ambiguous relationships with local politics as well.

Following terms written in the door : consultating, communications (which means phone recharge), occasions (which means renting for wedding material). »

Lucie REVILLA


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