Essays on the geography of contentious collective action in Africa

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The number of major civil wars and armed conflicts occurring on the African continent has declined over the last two decades. However, the overall frequency of small-scale armed conflicts and other variegated forms of contentious collective action have increased. Despite the decline of war, Africa, like other parts of the world, appears to be becoming a more violent place. How then do we explain this paradox? Two processes might seem to shed some light on this question. First, Africa is undergoing a period of political and institutional transition as regimes embrace multiparty democracy and maintain power by forming inclusive ruling coalitions. This process, it is argued, has changed the incentives surrounding armed conflict and the use of violence among social groups. Concurrent to this process of democratisation, Africa is experiencing rapid urbanisation which is thought to have caused changes in the patterns and nature of expression of contentious collective action on the continent. Through a series of five essays, this thesis seeks to improve our collective understanding of the relationships between trends in contentious collective action, democratisation, and urbanisation on the continent.
Date of Award27 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorSean Fox (Supervisor) & Levi J Wolf (Supervisor)

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