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Centre of African Studies: Events


The participation Conundrum: Evidence from a study of participation in violence in Eastern DRC

The participation Conundrum: Evidence from a study of participation in violence in Eastern DRC
Speaker: Dr. Gauthier Marchais # Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
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Date and Time
15th Nov 2017 16:00 - 15th Nov 2017 17:30
Seminar Room 1 & 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, EH8 9LD

The study of participation in violent collective action has made substantial progress in the last two decades, owing to a stream of close-range ethnographic studies and the development of new data collection methods.  However, the quantitative analysis of participation in violence has been limited by a range of theoretical and empirical issues. There has been a tendency to consider that one factor explains participation throughout the period of participation, and a strong reliance on cross section type data, both hindering the understanding of the interaction of different factors over time, and how individual factors articulate with contextual factors. This is particularly limiting in contexts of prolonged armed conflict, where the structural conditions affecting individual determinants of participation are likely to change substantially over time. In this paper, we construct a unique dataset of detailed histories of civilian and armed activity of a sample of 2,740 households in each of 240 villages in North Kivu and South Kivu, two provinces that have been vastly exposed to armed conflict and armed mobilisation in the past 20 years. To address selection biases, we track combatants, ex-combatants and their peers in their home village today, where a substantial number of them have returned. Using the data we assembled, we carry out a dynamic analysis of why individuals join armed groups, and the effects of their participation.  We pay particular attention to the interaction of factors, and to differentiating participation in different types of groups, articulating an understanding of the individual determinants with group level and contextual factors. We also look at the mechanisms of armed mobilisation and participation, in particular the role of social networks. We support the results with qualitative research, and situate them in the recent stream of outstanding qualitative research on armed mobilisation in eastern DRC. 


Gauthier Marchais (IDS Sussex) - Presenting 

 Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (UC Berkeley)

 Matt Pecenco (UC Berkeley)

Dr. Gauthier Marchais