Rebels in space

The study of violent conflict in the post-colonial world has burgeoned in recent decades and finds increasing interdisciplinary traction. This triggered new literature conceptualising contemporary conflict and focusing on an array of case studies and themes.  What is missing in this literature, though, is attention to intersecting dynamics of space and authority in conflict. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this project bridges this gap and conceptualize the spatiality of authority in conflict. This involves investigating the role of territory, place and – most importantly – the scales and networks in and of conflict, in order to understand how geographical and social space condition the fragmentation of authority – overcoming orthodox theories that imply flat and even socio-spatial relations.  Hence, it contributes to the push to decolonize dominant concepts: it shifts attention from normative and econometric approaches to the socio-spatial agency of conflict participants. Despite a rich literature on conflict and armed mobilization, the role of social and geographical space remains orphaned.  Unpacking these dynamics, this project develops a novel reading that accounts for the fragmentation of authority in and across entangled, overlapping contested social and geographical spaces in which belligerents compete over authority and political order. 

  • Funded by: SNF/FWO (2018-2023)
  • Contact: Christoph Vogel
  • Staff involved: Christoph Vogel, Koen Vlassenroot