Fragile futures: Rural lives in times of conflicts – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Anthropology > Research > Research projects > Current Projects > Fragile futures:

Fragile futures: Rural lives in times of conflicts

Welcome to our project. At this site you can follow the research project “Fragile futures: Rural lives in times of conflicts” which explores the relationship between state and citizens in the West African country Burkina Faso. It is a joint project between the University of Copenhagen (Department for Anthropology) and the University of Ouagadougou (Department for Sociology) funded by Danida. We are currently 12 Burkinabe and Danish researchers as well as a number of Master students involved in the project. The project runs until 31.12.2017.

The West African region receives increased international attention due to its fragile security situation. Conflicts in neighbouring countries now also threaten the peace and stability in Burkina Faso. Recently, security issues have emerged in the northern part of the country where the Al Quida organisation AQMI operates, the political unrest in the Ivory Coast has forced migrant workers to return jobless to Burkina Faso and conflicts between farmers and cattle herders over water resources are becoming more frequent.

The overall aim of this project is to identify key potentials for the stregnthening of the relationship between the civil society and the state in order to prevent future conflicts. The hypothesis of the project is that a perception of the state as a set of institutions providing services for the population and a sense of belonging to the state, are particularly important in poor countries with vulnerable populations in order to avoid conflicts to emerge. This project looks at the relationship between the civil society and the state from the village perspective. Anthropological and sociological fieldwork in two contrasting villages will investigate local imaginaries of the state and how the villagers use and relate to the local representations of the state (health system, water provision and conflict management). Core elements for a future conflict prevention strategy will be identified through this project.

Team members

  • PI Helle Samuelsen, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Head of Department, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • Post Doc, Gabin Korbéogo, Ph.D. Department of Sociology, University of Ouagadougou
  • Post Doc, Léa Paré Toé, Ph.D. Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), Direction Régionale de l’Ouest
  • Ph.D. Fellow, Lise Rosendal Østergaard, MA, MIH, Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen
  • Ph.D. Fellow, David Ilboudo, Department of Sociology, University of Ouagadougou
  • Ph.D. Fellow, Issa Sombié, Department of Sociology, University of Ouagadougou
  • Ph.D. Fellow, Cissao Yacouba, Department of Sociology, University of Ouagadougou