1st Edition

Living through Crisis by Lake Chad Violence, Labor and Resources

By Alessio Iocchi Copyright 2023
    224 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the ways in which people in the Lake Chad region that divides Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon deal with the crises of violence, jihadism, drought, and climate change that continue to afflict the area.

    In 2014 Boko Haram expanded into the Lake Chad region, prompting a counter-insurgency response, and exacerbating pre-existing social and ecological challenges. Drawing on extensive ethnographic research, this book investigates how people within the liminal space of this key border region respond to and navigate the unpredictability which typifies their day-to-day lives. Building up a picture of individual and community experiences of crisis, the book gradually demonstrates the complex interactions between economic circuits, political orders, socio-religious processes, and labour practices which operate in the region.

    This book will be of interest to researchers across African studies, security studies, political science, and border studies.

    INTRODUCTION  PART I - PATTERNS OF ACCUMULATION AND DISPOSSESSION IN THE SAHEL  1. LINES: Rethinking Power Networks, Labor and Resources in the Sahel  2. SPACE, SUBJECTS, GATEWAYS: Forging Techniques of Power in the Sahel  PART II - LIVING THROUGH CRISES BY LAKE CHAD  3. RAIDERS OF THE LOST WEALTH: Accumulation, Dispersal, Dispossession  4. LE DÉRAPAGE: The Boko Haram Crisis by Lake Chad  5. NAVIGATING THE MESHWORK: Map-Reading an (Armed) Landscape  PART III - NEGOTIATING LIVELIHOODS AT THE FRONTIER  6. FEAR AND FLOATING, I: Networks, Capital, Power  7. FEAR AND FLOATING, II: Agency, Labor, (Crushed) Utopia  POSTSCRIPT


    Alessio Iocchi is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Norway, and Research Fellow at the Department of Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean at University of Naples L'Orientale, Italy.

    "A plethora of literature exists on the Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad region of Africa but their contents are based on secondary evidence and focus disproportionally on the Nigerian dimension of the problem with emphasis on the origins, evolution and potential trajectories of the jihadists. The present book looks at the phenomena multidimensionally covering Chad, Cameroun, Niger and Nigeria particularly focusing on the question of what happens when what is perceived by outsiders as crisis is treated as normal by local communities. The author tells the stories of Lake Chad in a refreshing manner that links the past and present of the physical, social, economic and environmental security challenges faced by the people and how the local communities build resilient capacity around them. Three things stand the book out: (i) the new array of information about the crisis in the Lake Chad as perceived by the people as different from what outsiders see, feel and think; (ii) the author’s ability to tell worrisome human angle stories in such a witty manner that keeps the reader glued to the book pages, and (iii) a robust research design and execution that takes the reader beyond what is taught in classes of research methods. The work is particularly rich in lessons on how to plan and do "dangerous fieldwork" in terms of personal safety in violently divided communities; structural disparities and trust issues between researcher and respondents;  and new insights on how the term "crisis" could be interpreted differently by a researcher and local communities. To this extent, the work stands out as a significant contribution to the fields of strategic studies, security studies, peace and conflict studies, political science, cultural anthropology, strategic communication as well as pragramtic field methods. Those getting prepared for cross border humanitarian work (including peacekeeping operations) would find the work a good resource material on what to expect and how to understand and gain the trust of community members."

    Isaac Olawale Albert, Professor, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria