26 November: GTD Colloquium “Counter Voices in Connected Authoritarian Africa” by Mirjam de Bruijn (Leiden University)

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Date(s) - 26/11/14
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Grote Gracht 80-82, Spiegelzaal (Soiron Building) Maastricht


Counter Voices in Connected Authoritarian Africa

By Prof. Mirjam de Bruijn  (Leiden University)

Globalisation, Transnationalism & Development Colloquium organized in association with Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE)


The Arabic Spring revealed a new dynamic in the world of dictators and war: the role of ICTs and social media in canalizing new oppositions and protest. Sub-Sahara Africa’s connectivity has developed much later than in Northern Africa. Most regimes are authoritarian, oppressive and characterized by regular outbreaks of war or other crises. What is the Arabic spring effect in these countries? How do people navigate war, oppression and authoritarian regimes? Does the access to ICT, and thus new information flows and connections to a wider network also lead them to make new decisions that finally push then into a new definition of identity. Is the experience of the oppression war and crisis, duress, different today than in the past and does this lead to new and other war dynamics? In this presentation I give no answers but I want to take the audience with me on my discovery of these political pathways and developing protest in Central and West Africa. Biographies of key figures in this process, i.e. often counter voices, do help us to understand the dynamics at play.

Prof. Mirjam de Bruijn is  Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of Africa at the Faculty of Arts at Leiden University as of 15 June 2007. She is an anthropologist whose work has a clearly interdisciplinary character. She has done fieldwork in Cameroon, Chad and Mali and an important theme throughout is how people manage risk (drought, war, etc.) in both rural and urban areas. She focuses on the interrelationship between agency, marginality, mobility and communication. Her specific fields of interest are: nomadism, youth and children, social (in)security, poverty, marginality/social and economic exclusion, violence, slavery, and human rights, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Upcoming GTD colloquia: 

-Wednesday 14 January 2015: Prof. José Luis Molina (Universitat  Autonoma de Barcelona)

-Wednesday 4, February 2015:Prof. Godried Engbersen (Department of Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

-Wednesday 11, March 2015:  Dr. Masja van Meeteren (Department of Criminology, Leiden University)

-Wednesday 8, April 2015:  Dr. Elodie Razy (University of Liege)