Integration through conflict: intergroup relations and resource management in sub-Saharan Africa
Research report (imported) 2003 - Max Planck Institut für ethnologische Forschung
Many parts of sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by a high frequency of intergroup conflicts along ethnic and economic lines. Tensions between farmers and herders are amongst the most prominent examples. One way national and international institutions try to cope with these emerging conflicts is by a policy of avoidance, by separating groups, promoting individual land rights, at the same time attempting to increase economic productivity. However, comparative anthropological research between two West African States, Burkina Faso and Cameroon, shows that conflicts are not necessarily negative, but may actually serve the groups’ integration and create a framework for social coexistence and economic cooperation. As the example of the Cameroonian Grasslands demonstrates, segregation may even have adverse consequences and aggravate existing tensions.