Big Men and networks in African conflicts and their aftermaths

An open seminar hosted by Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre and Africa 20:20, Monday 19 March from 16:00 – 17:00, in room VHV-008 in Veröld – Vigdís’  house, at the University of Iceland

Big Men and networks in African conflicts and their aftermaths

In the aftermath of an armed conflict in Africa, the international community both produces and demands from local partners a variety of blueprints for reconstructing state and society. In reality, African economies and polities are very much informal in character, with informal actors, including so-called Big Men, often using their positions in the formal structure as a means to reach their own goals.

At this seminar Mats Utas will focus on behind the scenes governance by Big Men and the networks needed for this in conflict and post-conflict societies. He will present examples from his own research in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but also refer to Mali, Nigeria and Somalia.

Mats Utas is Associate Professor in Cultural Anthropology and Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University. Utas has written extensively on conflicts in predominantly West Africa. He has conducted fieldwork in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast and in Somalia.

Moderator: Geir Gunnlaugsson, Chairman of Africa 20:20 and professor of Global Health

The seminar will be held in English and is open to all