Studying resilience to violence and insecurity in Africa
A fourth area of research at the ALC is that which seeks to understand the internal channels of resilience to violence, armed conflict and insecurity in African societies. Three core sets of questions occupy our attention in this research project.
- First, what does resilience mean in African societies and states? Is resilience what we think it means in those places? What separates the notion of resilience in the African context from other contexts?
- Second, in what realms can we find evidence of the most robust structures and instruments of resilience to destructive conflict, violence and large-scale insecurity including disasters? Are the most prominent places the most robust sources of resilience?
- Third, through what mechanisms and processes can we develop, transfer and scale up ideas and methods that offer solutions that make societies more resilient to destructive conflict, violence and disaster?
In seeking to address these questions this project focuses on “society” rather than the “state” as an entry point from which to study interventions and approaches that work or fail to build resilience in societies and states affected by conflict, violence, and large scale insecurity including disaster. To be sure, it recognizes the important role of the state. But we contend that in the process of solution seeking there is the tendency to relegate to the background, ideas and interventions outside the view of the state, which provide some evidence of success. More so, many African societies demonstrate a fine measure of resilience when compared to the state. As such, there is potential to upscale some of the experiences for application at the level of the state.
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