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Climate change, violent conflict and local institutions in Kenya’s drylands

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Author Info

  • Wario R Adano

    (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale)

  • Ton Dietz

    (African Studies Centre, Leiden)

  • Karen Witsenburg

    (Both ENDS, Amsterdam & Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale)

  • Fred Zaal

    (Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam)

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    Abstract

    Many regions that are endowed with scarce natural resources such as arable land and water, and which are remote from a central government, suffer from violence and ethnic strife. A number of studies have looked at the convergence of economic, political and ecological marginality in several African countries. However, there is limited empirical study on the role of violence in pastoral livelihoods across ecological and geographical locations. Yet, case studies focusing on livelihood and poverty issues could inform us about violent behaviour as collective action or as individual decisions, and to what extent such decisions are informed or explained by specific climatic conditions. Several case studies point out that violence is indeed an enacted behaviour, rooted in culture and an accepted form of interaction. This article critically discusses the relevance of geographical and climatic parameters in explaining the connection between poverty and violent conflicts in Kenya’s pastoral areas. These issues are considered vis-à -vis the role institutional arrangements play in preventing violent conflict over natural resources from occurring or getting out of hand. The article uses long-term historical data, archival information and a number of fieldwork sources. The results indicate that the context of violence does not deny its agency in explanation of conflicts, but the institutional set-up may ultimately explain the occurrence of the resource curse.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Peace Research Institute Oslo in its journal Journal of Peace Research.

    Volume (Year): 49 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 65-80

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:49:y:2012:i:1:p:65-80

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    Web page: http://www.prio.no/

    Related research

    Keywords: climate change; Kenya’s drylands; local institutions; resource curse; resource scarcity; violent conflict;

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    Cited by:
    1. Ole Theisen & Nils Gleditsch & Halvard Buhaug, 2013. "Is climate change a driver of armed conflict?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 613-625, April.
    2. François Gemenne & Jon Barnett & W. Adger & Geoffrey Dabelko, 2014. "Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 1-9, March.
    3. Hassani Mahmooei, Behrooz & Parris, Brett, 2012. "Why might climate change not cause conflict? an agent-based computational response," MPRA Paper 44918, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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