The Urban Dilemma: Urbanization and ethnocommunal conflict

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Project Period

2019 – 2022

Project leader

Other project members

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The world is rapidly urbanizing, and countries in the global South are home to the most rapid urbanization processes. Urbanization simultaneously holds a strong potential for progress and democracy-enhancement, and for destructive and violence-inducing dynamics, a fact encapsulated in the notion of an “urban dilemma”. This project seeks to advance knowledge on why urbanization brings with it intensified ethnic grievances and increasing levels of inter-group violence in the cities in some cases, but not in others, and asks: In the context of rapidly growing cities, under what circumstances do violent ethnocommunal conflicts arise?

By systematically analyzing rural-urban patterns of ethnic conflict, the project seeks to identify conditions under which in-migration, urbanrural straddling, and urban politics aggravate or mitigate ethnocommunal conflict in the city. The project employs a mixed-methods design, utilizing geographically disaggregated time-varying data on inter-group violence in rural and urban areas, in-depth field research in three African cities (Kampala, Uganda; Lagos, Nigeria; and Nairobi, Kenya) and a survey among migrants in order to more closely understand the conditions under which urbanization leads to ethnocommunal conflict in the city. The project will generate a better understanding of dynamics that are at the center of current debates around urbanization and sustainable development.

MAIN FINANCIAL SUPPORT