Alliances of anarchy

Actor constellations and patterns of electoral violence
Project description

Elections are a cornerstone of democratic governance. Yet, in many countries elections are frequently marred by violence. When political actors use violence to steal elections, the lives and safety of citizens are threatened, and democratic practices undermined.

This project uncovers the determinants of electoral violence patterns over time and space, taking seriously the actors involved in the violence. The project disaggregates the actors involved in elections and investigates how different actor constellations – the combination of actors present and active during electoral periods – shape patterns of electoral violence. By placing focus on how electoral violence is co-produced by local and national actors, and how actor constellations are conditioned by contextual factors, the project unpacks actor-related dynamics that influence when, where, at what intensity, and in which form, violence unfolds.

The project will employ a subnational, comparative research design, with a focus on Africa (tentatively Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Zimbabwe) and aims to utilize both qualitative and quantitative research approaches.

The city of Man, Côte d’Ivoire – an area severely affected by electoral violence in 2010–2011. © Gillian Zouzoukov/Wikimedia Commons