This thematic cluster of CRG Ghent University offers a spatial approach to the study of dynamics of violence, war and peace.

Spaces of conflict

Informed by the spatial turn in the social sciences, this cluster brings together research explicitly interested in spatial dimensions of violence and conflict. The central guiding question in this cluster is how violent conflict produces or conditions space and place and how space and place it their turn produce or inform violence, conflict or political contestation. As such, we are both interested in the political production of space by for instance humanitarian actors, gangs or elites, as well as in the effects of spatial transformations (like urbanisation) on social and political conflict and contestation.

Our approach is thus situated at the intersection of political geography, conflict studies and spatial anthropology; a transdisciplinary angle from which concepts such as ‘contentious politics’, ‘peacebuilding’, ‘rebel governance’ or ‘vigilantism’, can thus be studied in relation to concrete spatial categories such as ‘the street’, ‘the roadblock’, ‘the camp’ or ‘the plantation’. We seek to bring spatial stories, agency, experiences and translations of violent conflict to the fore, by looking deeper into the meaning and function of locality, landscapes and infrastructures in our understanding of violent conflict.


New Publication: Fertile Soil? Rural Young Men’s Navigation of Changing Environments and the Potential Expansion of Jihadi Actors in Sikasso, Mali

This article proposes the framework of social navigation to make sense of the diverse trajectories of rural male youth.

New Publication: “The Eyes of All Acholiland Were Turned Towards This Hill”

CRG's Sara Weschler, along with Arthur Owor from the Centre for African Research, shared the historical narratives of the Lamogi Rebellion from the British colonial report archive to the Acholi community in an educational book.

Mining ecology, early urbanism and environmental knowledge in Katanga: a deep-time interdisciplinary approach

Through an interdisciplinary approach involving political anthropology, oral history, environmental archaeology and historical linguistics, this project aspires to transform our understanding of the deep-time interactions between artisanal mining ecology, early urbanism, and indigenous ecological knowledge in the southeastern DRC.

Analyzing conflict mobilities from Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement

This research project examines to which extent conflict dynamics and refugee policy structures have an impact on broader mobility patterns and dynamics in the war-torn Central-East African region.

Understanding urban protest in a context of war: an ethnographic analysis of ‘urban political terrains’ in eastern DRC

This PhD project looks at the nexus of violence, conflict, and urban protest in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The politics of Hidden Urbanisation in the D.R. Congo

This project sets out to investigate ‘hidden’ forms of urbanity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in order to achieve a better understanding of the profoundly political character of rapid urbanisation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Rebels in Space

The study of violent conflict in the post-colonial world has burgeoned in recent decades and finds increasing interdisciplinary traction. This triggered new literature conceptualising contemporary conflict and focusing on an array of case studies and themes.

Border as “Opportunity”: Informal Cattle Trade across the Bangladesh-India Borders

The project, generally, intends to understand how borderland population put their efforts to adapt to transforming international borders and earn alternative livelihoods.

The Dynamics of Urbanisation and Ethnic Contestations in Peri-urban Areas of Ethiopia: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa cities in Focus 

With experiences of ethnographic fieldwork, this Ph.D. research project unearths the dialectics of urbanisation and ethnic contestations in peri-urban areas of Ethiopia by focusing on Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa cities.

Creative Actions in Times of Political Crisis and COVID-19 Pandemic: Everyday Vitalities in Conflicted Communities in Mindanao, Southern Philippines

Drawn from the context of the conducted multi-sited two-year ethnography with the internally displaced Lumad ethnolinguistic groups in Manila and Mindanao, Southern Philippines also known as Lumad "bakwit" (evacuees) before and during the militarized lockdown and global COVID-19 pandemic, this Ph.D. research project provides a transdisciplinary, theoretical, methodological, and empirical narrative of the impact of the militarized pandemic in the Philippines on the internally displaced Lumad evacuees who politically act, resist, and speak out on issues such as human rights violations, environmental plunder of their ancestral domain, widespread state-sponsored impunity, and deprivation of social services.

Changing urban residency: Migration, temporary settlement and new urbanisms in Africa

This research project is focused on temporary migration and settlement in Angola, DRC and Zimbabwe and how, in specific cases, they both extend in time and become permanent, creating unforeseen new urbanisms.

Authority Production & Justice Delivery through Conflict Mediation in Rural Bangladesh

Authority is the legitimate power (Weber, 1947) produced in different forms and several circumstances.