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Why do rural people in Mali join jihadist groups? A political ecological explanation

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  • UserProfessor Tor Benjaminsen, NMBU
  • ClockThursday 20 October 2022, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseHB101.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Valerio Donfrancesco.

‘Mali has been in a deep security crisis since 2012. To explain this crisis, the dominant literature has focussed on global political economic developments and international jihadist thinking and organisation and links to national dynamics. As an alternative, or addition, to these contributions I will in this presentation take a materialist political ecology approach to explain the current situation. By focusing on the politics of land-use conflicts and and environmental governance, I seek to explain peasant logics behind joining the various armed groups labelled ‘jihadist’. In particular, pastoralists support jihadist groups, because of an anti-state, anti-elite and pro-pastoral jihadist discourse, because they have become increasingly fatigued and disgruntled by a predatory and corrupt state, and because the development model imposed by the state and international donors has not responded to pastoral priorities. Rent-seeking by government officials has been especially intense in relation to conflicts over pastoral land, environmental management and the fight against desertification. This happened while the international community continued to praise Mali as a model of African democracy’.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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