Since the end of the Cold War, the monopoly of legitimate organized force of many African states has been eroded by a mix of rebel groups, violent extremist organizations, and self-defence militias created in response to the rise in organized violence on the continent.
African Border Disorders explores the complex relationships that bind states, transnational rebels and extremist organizations, and borders on the African continent. Combining cutting edge network science with geographical analysis, the first part of the book highlights how the fluid alliances and conflicts between rebels, violent extremist organizations and states shape in large measure regional patterns of violence in Africa. The second part of the book examines the spread of Islamist violence around Lake Chad through the lens of the violent Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, which has evolved from a nationally-oriented militia group, to an internationally networked organization. The third part of the book explores how violent extremist organizations conceptualize state boundaries and territory and, reciprocally, how do the civil society and the state respond to the rise of transnational organizations.
The book will be essential reading for all students and specialists of African politics and security studies, particularly those specializing on fragile states, sovereignty, new wars, and borders as well as governments and international organizations involved in conflict prevention and early intervention in the region.
‘Based on original and cutting edge research and authored by leading scholars in the field, African Border Disorders significantly enriches our understanding of transnational extremist organizations in postcolonial Africa. What makes this volume stand apart in the burgeoning literature on political violence is that its authors clearly locate the spatial patterns of attacks within the social networks underlying rebel movements in the African continent.’ - Ousmane Kane, Harvard University, USA.
‘While the rest of the world continues to recognize African states, many of which have limited empirical existence and do little for their populations, challenges to these states on the ground increasingly ignore and bypass existing sovereign territorial configurations. This original, insightful and methodologically sophisticated book directs a cast of outstanding scholars to break down the transnational social and spatial networks that have progressively turned many African states upside down. Reaching broadly across topics and regions, this work is of critical theoretical and policy importance.’ - Pierre Englebert, Pomona College, USA.
‘This remarkable collection of chapters brings together scholars from across the world working on the difficult subjects of both transnational behaviour and armed group relationships. Research on relationships, networks and strategies are grounded in innovative and robust empirical evidence and methods. Insights from these rigorous works will serve as a guide to students, an excellent resource for researchers, and will set the agenda for future policy and practitioner work on the security of border regions in areas of intense violent competition. A timely and welcome contribution to the study of political violence patterns.’ - Clionadh Raleigh, University of Sussex, UK.
Introduction: States, Borders and Political Violence in Africa
[Olivier J. Walther and William F.S. Miles]
PART I: Social Networks and Spatial Patterns
1. Spatializing the Social Networks of the First Congo War
[Steven M. Radil]
2. Exploring the Spatial and Social Networks of Transnational Rebellions in Africa
[Sean Everton, Dan Cunningham and Kristen Tsolis]
3. Networks and Spatial Patterns of Extremist Organizations in North and West Africa
[Olivier J. Walther, Christian Leuprecht and David Skillicorn]
4. Spatial and Temporal Diffusion of Political Violence in North and West Africa
[David B. Skillicorn, Olivier J. Walther, Quan Zheng and Christian Leuprecht]
PART II: Transnational Extremism and Policy Responses
5. Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Local, National and Transnational Dynamics
6. External Incentives and the African Subregional Response to Boko Haram
PART III: States, Civil Society and Transnational Extremism
7. Terror, Territory and Statehood from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State
[Jaume Castan Pinos]
8. Public Perceptions of Violent Extremism in Mali
9. Jihads and Borders: Social Networks and Spatial Patterns in Africa, Present, Past and Future
[William F.S. Miles]
The African Politics and International Relations series seeks to provide readers with a conceptual and comparative perspective on transformations associated with the rise of Africa in international relations and within the global economy. The series explores the empirical and theoretical implications of the engagement of both old and new players, the redefinition of the continent's politics, socio-economic transitions and changing patterns of region-building, both within Africa and with the global South. The series, through its focus on the reappraisal of the role and conception of African agency, seeks to provide readers with a comprehensive, accessible, and insightful treatment of issues that challenge conventional understandings and representations of Africa.