Insecurities in the Lake Chad basin
17th Mega-Chad colloquium -In Nice (France), on June 14-15-16th, 2017
Ever since the crisis in Darfur, the Boko Haram insurrection and the conflagration in the Central African Republic, the Lake Chad basin has been a focus of media and government attention. Insecurities, the theme chosen for this 17th Mega-Chad
colloquium, has become a topic that can no longer be avoided. Beyond media attention, insecurities play a major part in structuring social organizations. They either block or force change at the level of individuals, their cultures, their organizations
and their productions. The tragic events that have played out in the region demonstrate the destructive potential of violence, and yet we should not forget that these events also stimulate adaptations, resilience and resistance that can lead to innovations and new ways of coping with such situations, and to new means of facing, circumventing or overcoming them.
In a geographic area characterized by chronic insecurity over the long term, weapons and the arts of war, political arenas, means of communication and ways of solving conflicts have changed over time. Outbreaks of insecurity in the present are
deeply rooted in the past. The history of the Lake Chad basin is marked by tremendous violence, an intense use of force pervading all periods of history, from the early times of precolonial kingdoms and widespread slavery, through colonization and
world wars, and on to later independent states and rebellions against them. Even in relatively quiet periods, endemic insecurity never ended but took various forms: ambushes in rural areas carried out by bands of pillagers (rustlers and highwaymen), urban crime, and the crimes of authoritarianism, mediated by uniformed “forces of order” that play a dual role as guarantors of stability and generators of
Insecurities transform social organizations by imposing themselves on everyday life. Faced with the proliferation of violence, social groups modify their forms of self-government and production, of dwelling and traveling, of exchange and communication. Beyond actual acts of violence, insecurities (in the form of anxieties provoked by the likelihood of danger) contribute to the sum of risks confronting people in their daily lives, and notably unpredictabilities in production, uncertainties
regarding property, local conflicts and more proximate violence (within the family, at school, gender conflicts, law and order, etc.). Research is needed on the links between these insecurities that fuse vulnerabilities and hazards of different types and intensities, scales and durations. Insecurities also lead to the reconstitution of political structures. Understanding of the functioning of states remains central to the study of armed conflicts, which tending to begin as internal conflicts often take on a regional dimension, challenging the internal workings and external politics of centralized political organizations. The significance of rhetorics and extremist actions make religion the second key factor in present and past insecurities. The struggle for the control of resources by networks, bands, regional or ethnic leaders, and central authorities also sheds light on social frameworks and their transformations. The fabric of international institutions and of local political arenas offers further possibilities for research on insecurities.
This international and pluridisciplinary colloquium welcomes contributions on insecurities within the Lake Chad basin (Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and bordering regions of Sudan, Libya and Algeria), on their
interconnections, and also on comparisons with neighboring areas (e.g., the African Great Lakes, Congo basin). The impacts of these conflicts and the ways they are perceived and represented elsewhere in the wider world are also suitable topics.
Proposals should be sent to: email@example.com
Deadline: 20 december 2016.
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