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Title: Conflict and identity in Nigeria : an emerging culture of conflict in northern Nigeria
Author: Liman, Bala Mohammed
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5883
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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Conflicts remain a major issue in many parts of the world, with many African countries still embroiled in one form of conflict or the other. The nature of conflicts have changed from the civil wars that preceded independence in these countries and are now smaller conflicts that are termed identity conflicts. Understanding the reasons behind these conflicts has become a major area of research with the discourse focusing on the instrumentalist and economic reasons behind them. The focus has been that instrumentalist factors are the main motivators in conflicts largely ignoring the effect of identities and how they affect the dynamics of conflicts. This research attempts to bridge this understanding by examining the nexus between identity and conflict. It adopts a socio-psychological approach to comprehend how groups see their roles in these conflicts. To do this, it examines the factors behind identity formation and how identities are used as mobilising tools during times of intense inter group competition. It then goes beyond understanding the reasons behind conflicts by focusing on why some conflicts become intractable. It argues that we should understand group narratives and the role these play in conflict dynamics through how groups selectively focus on narratives that emphasize their strengths and threats. During periods of intense competition, these are used in the process of mutual delegitimisation to create stereotypes that increase the suspicions between groups, making conflict resolution difficult. Finally it argues that for conflict resolution efforts to be successful, we must go beyond just implementing policies that are aimed at reducing political, social and economic inequalities and include those that change negative group narratives that currently exist in plural countries. This should enable groups to better understand each other so as to create a space for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the reduction of inter-group competitions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral