- Main applicant: Professor J.W.M. van Dijk (African Studies Centre, The Netherlands)
- Co-applicants: Professor O. Obono (Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria), Mr A. Keita (Groupe Observation des Dynamiques Sociales, Spatiales et Expertise Endogène, Mali), Mr M. Goita (Institute de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives de Développement en Afrique, Mali)
This project investigates the increased participation of the Fulani in political movements and agitation. They have so far been relatively invisible and apolitical, yet by far the largest nomadic pastoralist group in the Sahel region. What factors account for their current conflicts with the State, sedentary neighbours and alienation from their own elite? How will this emergent counter-discourse develop over time, and what are the implications for regional political, economic and sociocultural stability? These new forms of political mobilization will be investigated within the historical context of 19th century jihadism and the transnational flows inherent in the contemporary connectivity of the Sahel to the world through new Information and communication technologies, international criminal networks, homegrown insurgency and the rise of cohesive regional political structures. The focus is Northern Mali and Nigeria, where Jihadist groups draw (part of) their membership (amongst others) from the ranks of young Fulani pastoralists. Data will be collected through interviews, document review, focus group discussions and networking with a large range of stakeholders involved. Special attention will be given to data from new social media and the role of youth in networks and organizations as these are hypothesized to be one of the main sources of political mobilization. Contributions will be made to on-going scientific debates on the future of pastoralism, new forms of war and the rise of jihadism. Knowledge will be shared through workshops and meetings with international, national and local (Fulani) stakeholders, social media and if funding is acquired through cultural festivals.