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Climate Change in Africa

Social and Political Impacts, Conflicts, and Strategies

Edited By Bettina Engels and Kristina Dietz

This volume deals with the consequences of climate change and issues of international climate policy relating to Africa from a social science perspective. The contributions by international authors question dominant political approaches and key concepts of the climate debate. They explain how the effects of climate change are linked to existing social, economic and political-institutional structures and action by the State. The authors show how social movements in Africa shape climate policy «from below». The volume serves as an introduction into climate change in Africa. It wants to stimulate a critical debate on dominant strategies and points out that there can be no simple answers to the complex socio-ecological and political challenges linked to climate change in Africa.

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Authority, Precarity and Conflict at the Edge of the State: Some thoughts on resource frontiers (Michael Watts)


Michael Watts1

Authority, Precarity and Conflict at the Edge of the State: Some thoughts on resource frontiers

Capitalism . . . is a frontier process (Moore 2015: 107)

Since its return to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria has produced two home-grown insurgencies. A Salafist rebellion, originating in the northeast of the country and gaining prominence and momentum after 2003, has laid waste a vast swath of territory in the three states of Bornu, Yobe, and Adamawa. It launched massive and deadly attacks across the north in major cities such as Maiduguri, Kano, and Katsina. Between 2011 and 2014, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, 20,000 people were killed by Boko Haram militants (with another 6,000 mortalities in 270 attacks during 2015). Large-scale abductions, female suicide bombers, assassinations, beheadings, and the brutal terrorizing of civilian communities have become the tools of their trade. By April 2015, 2.5 million people had been displaced across six northeastern states (; over one million were barracked in refugee camps in and around Maiduguri. New estimates by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs suggest that 4.4 million people in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria are in need of urgent food aid. Countless hundreds of thousands are confronting the bitter reality of starvation and famine.←167 | 168→

One thousand kilometers to the south, on the Niger delta oilfields, an armed non-state group – the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) – emerged...

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