The Nordic Africa Institute


Placing Conflict: Religion and Politics in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Started • 01 January 2014
Ended • 01 December 2014

Researcher: Henrik Angerbrandt

Religious and ethnic crises have since the 1980s become one of the major challenges for Nigeria’s nation-building. The state in Nigeria employs various strategies to reduce national ethnic conflicts. A federal system of government is expected to reduce the stakes for central power and federal institutions are supposed to reflect the diversity of the nation. Still, society has become increasingly polarized along religious and ethnic lines. In Kaduna State in the northern part of the country, this polarization comes to expression in a long-lasting conflict between Muslim Hausa-Fulani and different Christian ethnic groups resulting in recurrent outbreaks of violence. In my research I interrogate how local and national processes are intertwined in the conflict. One focus is how different scales of politics are mutually constituted in specific issues that trigger violence. Another focus is how actors construct the conflict with different scalar dimensions, such as local, national and global, not only in relation the state but also with regard to ethnic and religious relations. The study aims to contribute to an understanding how ethnic and religious conflicts are shaped according to local characteristics but are done so in ways of how local, national and global relations and connections come together in particular places.