Appel à contributions ECAS 7 Afrique urbaine – Africains urbains Basel 29 juin – 1er Juillet 2017


7ème conférence européenne des études africaines ECAS 7

Bâle-Basel, 29 juin-1er juillet 2017, Université de Basel

Afrique urbaine – Africains urbains :

Des nouvelles rencontres entre le rural et l’urbain

Site de la conférence:

Appel à contributions

Le Centre d’études africaines de Bâle et la Société suisse d’études africaines vous invitent, pour le compte de l’AEGIS (Groupe Afrique-Europe pour les études interdisciplinaires), à soumettre des propositions pour la 7e Conférence européenne ECAS 2017 sur le thème: Africains: Nouvelles rencontres des zones rurales et urbaines.

 Les tendances africaines de l’urbanisation soulèvent plusieurs questions qui intéressent les chercheurs. Ceux-ci vont de la politique, à travers l’économie, tout le chemin à des questions sociales et culturelles. La question clé, cependant, est de savoir comment les processus d’urbanisation en Afrique transforment les objets conventionnels des études africaines et comment les savants d’Afrique se préparent-ils à faire face à de tels changements? Telles sont les questions auxquelles nous avons invité les savants d’Afrique à s’engager de manière plus consciente et systématique.

Alors que parmi les 223 panels acceptés, l’urbain est important, beaucoup se penchent aussi sur les enchevêtrements du rural avec le urbain, en particulier pour aborder une hypothèse implicite qui sous-tend l’étude de l’Afrique et qui concerne la prétendue «nature» rurale du continent Ainsi que la nature constitutive de la tension entre la tradition et la modernité. Au cours des dernières décennies, une attitude autocritique au sein de nombreuses disciplines a conduit à un affaiblissement de ces hypothèses, l’urbain continue sans doute à être considéré comme l’exception ou, du moins, comme analytiquement moins conséquent que le rural. ECAS 2017 «Urban Africa – Urban Africans» sera donc l’occasion de repenser les études africaines, mais aussi d’explorer et d’approfondir les voies de recherche que de nombreux chercheurs travaillant sur les questions urbaines et rurales ont abordées ces dernières années. Il ya une masse critique à exploiter dans l’effort pour pousser les frontières de la production critique de connaissances européennes sur l’Afrique.

L’appel à communications est maintenant ouvert et se termine à minuit le 19 janvier 2017. Avant de proposer un article, lisez le thème de la conférence, parcourez la liste des panels.

 Les panels acceptés de l’ECAS2017 ont été divisés en champs thématiques: Economie et Développement (A); Politique et relations internationales (B); Anthropologie sociale (C); Sociologie (D); Histoire (E); Arts et culture (G); Langue et littérature (H); Philosophie (I); Religion (J); Santé (K); Environnement et géographie (L); Et droit (M).


Call for Papers: Field research in difficult contexts




Sylvie Ayimpam, Magali Chelpi-de Hamer, Jacky Bouju

IMAf/Aix-Marseille Université

Deadline for proposals 4th May 2014

Today, most of social sciences requiring field research are particularly sensitive to epistemological and ethical problems arising from research in difficult contexts. This is not a new concern. The topic has already been explored (Bouillon, Frésia and Tallio, 2006; Sriram, King, Merus, Martin-Ortega and Herman, 2009). Nevertheless, much remains to say about the various consequences of theses difficulties on fieldwork method: on the insecurity of the researcher and the protection of informants when operating in dangerous settings, on the ethical challenges surrounding research with vulnerable populations, or on the validity of information gathered in violent contexts. Reasons for that are difficult to trace. They may be due to the disparity of hostile settings, to the normative pluralism of concerned institutions, to the disjunction of experienced temporalities by different actors, to the heterogeneity of data available, or to all these reasons altogether. With this special issue, we wish to confront researchers’ personal reflections on their own field experience about the challenges of conducting qualitative research in ‘difficult contexts’, on sensitive or forbidden topics, in hostile post-conflict or pre-conflict settings, or with vulnerable populations in situation of emergency or natural disaster, etc. Contributions for the following issues are welcome:

Access to research subjects on he field. This difficulty is common to all types of difficult contexts. Access to the field itself, but also access to research subjects or vulnerable people in post-conflict settings or natural disasters and finally, access to valuable information. Some settings are subjected to such military or police controls that access to the social spaces where are potential informants is hardly possible. In these situations some actors may be in the margins of law, while others may be clandestine. Then, how can the researcher conduct participant observation in social settings stressed by political violence? How can the researcher build trust and confidence with informants and authorities in such situations? The personal answers to these questions have a strong effect on the feasibility and the practicality of fieldwork.

Sensitive topics, taboos. A setting may be difficult, not because of access but because of moral taboo or political sensitivity of research topic. Social taboos (like rape, suffer, abortion, power abuses), and sensitive topics (like the subjects’ victimization in sorcery or ordinary violence or the involvement of repellent groups in war crimes or genocides) call for research practices and methods exploring the margin of traditional research models.

The off-site survey’s epistemological shortcomings. The researchers‘ difficulties to return back to fieldworks classified ‘dangerous’ and the increased financial cost of fieldwork missions collided with the possibilities offered by the new communication technologies to promote off-site surveys. Indeed, off-site survey or on-line ethno surveys seem to be a good alternative to solve a range of expected problems raised by access to difficult fieldwork settings. But, on-line surveys go very far beyond traditional qualitative research methods and therefore address several epistemological and ethical issues. Between subjective perspectives and unverifiable misleading statements, what is the veracity value of information collected at distance, by phone, mail or web? Or, through the virtual communities of social networking? Such a methodological development doubtlessly presents new challenges and interesting opportunities, but its impacts on the ethics of knowledge production in difficult contexts need an in depth reflection.

The issue of security. Conducting field research in difficult or hostile settings raises practical, social and ethical problems that have direct methodological impacts on fieldwork. This is especially true of the ‘neither peace nor war’ contexts that are more and more frequent in the South. Among the many ethical issues at stakes is the crucial one of the protection of the informant and the researcher himself. How therefore to avoid overemphasizing or underemphasizing the security impact of research in the daily life of respondents? The efforts to guard against risk of threat to personal security meet ethical issues difficult to address.

The issue of objectivity and reliability of information. Survey, either conducted in dangerous or hostile setting or off-site, involves several issues concerning the objectivity and validity of information. What we would like to do in this special issue is to reflect on the conditions of scientific objectification that derives from the necessary methodological ‘bricolages’ undertaken. Indeed, research in difficult settings is conducive not only to multiple subjectivities’ expression but also to intentionally oriented discourses. In these conditions, how can ethnography organize and give meaning to contested realities, when the contexts under study are marginal, conflicting, loaded with strong ideological and political stakes, and when researchers must compose – and sometimes compete – with many other stakeholders (local NGOs, international agencies, social workers or reporters)? When research explores situations of suffering, emotions that arise are to be taken seriously, since they generate a feeling of unease or illegitimacy, that the researcher cannot help feeling, being healthy and safe in such times of misfortune. How to then tackle this ineluctable malaise, when exploring the situations of victims of a violent physical assault or of refugees who had just fled a natural disaster or a war zone?

This call for papers is open to all social sciences rooted in empirical approaches to fieldwork. The expected papers will position critically on methodological and ethical issues that arise from doing research in difficult, unstable, violent or dangerous settings in whatever part of the world.
Proposals in English or French (title  and a 400 words abstract) are
to be sent before may 4th to editorial board (
<> / and guest editors Jacky Bouju  and Pierre Petit  <>).

Les propositions d’article, en anglais ou en français (un titre et un résumé de 400 mots), sont à envoyer avant le 4 mai 2014 au secrétariat et un éditeur de la revue (
<> /
<;be>) ainsi qu’aux coordinateurs du
dossier, Jacky Bouju < et à Pierre Petit


EASA 2014 : Conflicts and Social Violence in an Uncertain and Interconnected World


EASA 2014.  Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution 
- innovation and continuity in an interconnected world / Tallin-Estonia, July 31st- August 3d 2014

 Panel 033.  Conflict & Social Violence in an Uncertain and Interconnected World

Sylvie Ayimpam (Institute of African Worlds IMAF), Roberto Beneduce (University of Torino), Jacky Bouju (IMAF-AMU)

Deadline for Proposals February 27th 2014

This panel wants to question the issue of ordinary violence and its dynamics in interconnected but uncertain contemporary societies. Whatever their shape, these social violence appear to be very different from spectacular collective forms of political or economical violence. Ordinary violence is violence experienced by ordinary people in their ordinary everyday lives. Occurring everywhere, they are ordinary and daily routine though always culturally or locally specific in their achievements. They take place in relationships or interactions undermined by power abuse or exploitation. One sees violence, one is violent or lives with violence, one is subjected to it and suffers from it, one qualifies it or judges it. Indeed, everybody has direct or indirect experience of it and is able to recognize it through the diversity of its expressions. How ordinary violence is perceived depends on a person’s beliefs and ideology and on the mainstream ideology of the local culture. Therefore, interpretations of what ordinary violence is vary widely and are a matter of heated discussion in any society. Previous studies have focused on the social construction of ordinary violence in ‘face to face’ interactions, in marital and kin relationships or in professional or neighbourhood relations in African societies. But, the kind of ordinary violence springing from distant interconnections and from a growing feeling of uncertainty has not been suited as such. Then, it is from these contexts that we want to investigate anew the issue of ordinary social conflicts and violence.

Considering interconnection it is fashionable to say that new intensive communication technics (mobile phones, internet, virtual networks, blogs…) favour proximity between individuals, allowing better acknowledgement and even intimacy. Yet, if ‘ordinary’ physical interactions may produce, at the same time, solidarity and rivalry, confidence and mistrust, one may think that communication intensification and acceleration in virtual interactions can generate unprecedented forms of violence. Then, what means virtual intimacy? Is connivance or complicity possible without co-presence?  In societies where orality is the main communication medium the mobile phone could indeed interconnect isolated distant persons. But, fine African observations show that the previous impossibility to be interconnected when at distance (as is the case for migrants) was also a way for individuals to emancipate or have a breath when caught in intrusive or constraining social relationships. Therefore, is the clear-cut separation of physical co-presence from oral communication so easy to achieve? Is not the imperfect privacy created by unavoidable interconnection creating new tensions, jealousy, contempt or envy between individuals? In Africa, for instance, an insisting rumour says that some mobile phone numbers can kill! How mobile phones or web virtual communications came to be be vectors of witchcraft violence in contemporary Africa?

What about the specific property of intimacy to protect personal stuffs needing to be hidden in order to preserve from insane curiosity? What kind of violence may spring from an irresponsible or thoughtless consent to see or to be seen and localised at any moment? Is not such an incomplete intimacy a new source conflict and violence? We would like to receive proposals that illustrate ordinary forms of conflicts and violence springing from the lack of intimacy between interconnected worlds.

However, present societies are not only characterized by intensive interconnection. They are also characterized by growing uncertainty. They are shaped by increasing economic inequalities, by social fragmentation and by cultural heterogeneity altogether creating a general feeling of uncertainty. The traditional ways of securing daily life (work revenue and income, family or community solidarity) do not succeed anymore in reducing uncertainty, insecurity and vulnerability for the weakest. For instance concerning land tenure, globalisation has increased international speculation on farming lands in many African countries thus increasing vulnerability and uncertainty for the poorest among farmers. In such conditions, the interconnected world is not only uncertain it appears also threatening.

Then, in Africa for instance, reducing uncertainty and searching for security have become everywhere one of the main personal or family goals. Indeed, this is made quite clear in the effervescence of popular beliefs in witchcraft and various occult practices that desperately try to make sense of widespread misfortune. Talisman protections and magical or religious practices appear then as appropriate resources to exercise favourable influences on personal fates. More seriously, ritual crimes and human body parts and bones traffic have become today prosperous activities that are boosted by an international demand originating from very wealthy individual trying to secure their dominating position. These beliefs and technics are thought to limit hazards and reduce uncertainty weighing on individual s’ fates. But, trust in witchcraft and magic practices goes along with mistrust in friends, neighbours or kins. Therefore, these cultural solutions generate in turn their lot of ordinary violence.

We would like, then to have contribution proposals describing ordinary violence springing from witchcraft beliefs and occult practices attempting desperately to secure private lives. Our aim is to understand how this violence is perceived, understood and justified by concerned social actors, be they victims, offenders or witnesses.

Proposals should rely on cases of ordinary violence based on observation, field work s’ studies or life histories collected in different social settings and contexts, in different parts of the world on conflicts and violence about land tenure, domestic, family or neighbourhood affairs, professional relationships or love relations, occults practices and witchcraft violence. The ordinary violence may be of any kind: physical or moral harassment, psychological coercion, implicit or explicit threats and menaces, power and authority abuse, and so forth.

This panel 033 is bilingual (French and English) multidisciplinary and contributions from social sciences (sociology, anthropology, political sciences, history, etc.) are welcome. To send a proposal in English or French please click on the link below and then on the button ‘propose a paper’ left bottom of the page.

Please note that deadline to send your proposal is on February 27th 2014

Key words: Social violence, ordinary violence, conflicts, social interactions, solidarity, trust, intimacy, interconnection, uncertainty, precariousness, vulnerability, virtual social networks, social regulation, collective action, anomy, social change.

Vers une gouvernance hybride en Afrique?

LSELondon 6-7 december 2013, LSE & IOB

The bankruptcy of conventional approaches to state failure and state building in Africa has drawn attention to new forms of order emerging on the ground in areas where the presence of the state is weak.  Widely described by the term ‘hybrid governance’, these new organizational forms incorporate local institutions and popular organizations to fill gaps in state capacity.  Is this just a new development buzzword, or does hybrid governance provide a useful conceptual tool for understanding, and even facilitating, more grounded and sustainable processes of governance in Africa? 

This workshop will bring together specialists from Europe and Africa to explore the empirical realities of hybrid governance in a range of fragile and more dynamic African contexts, focusing on the factors that shape positive as well as negative paths of hybrid governance in contemporary Africa.

Drawing on extensive empirical research in a range of African countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, the DR Congo and Nigeria, participants will consider how different levels of state capacity, and different choices of local partners (armed or non-armed actors; informal or formal; indigenous or international organizations), shape divergent trends in hybrid governance outcomes.