R4D Project: Ethnic Power Relations and Conflict in Fragile States

In cooperation with researchers in five different developing countries, this project examines the link between group-level inequality and ethnic conflict in fragile states. It seeks to provide scientific knowledge to political actors to reduce exclusion and discrimination of ethnic groups and to mitigate its adverse consequences, especially with respect to conflict and political instability. The transfer of scientific knowledge to political decision makers as well as to society at large in the regions of interest are a key objective of the project.

I am currently an affiliated researcher in this project, which is generously supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through their joint Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme). The project is led by Lars-Erik Cederman (ETH Zürich), Simon Hug (University of Geneva), Hamid E. Ali (American University in Cairo), Roch Yao Gnabeli (Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny), Ricardo Sáenz de Tejada (USAC, Guatemala), Madhushree Sekher (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India), and Naison Ngoma (Copperbelt University, Zambia).

For more information please visit our project website.


"El agua vale más que el oro:" Mining and Social Protest in Latin America

Mining activities in Latin America have increased dramatically over the past decades, and natural resource extraction remains one of the region’s main drivers of economic growth. As a result, social mobilization around issues of environmental protection and indigenous territories has occurred in almost every Latin American country, often resulting in massive, at times violent protest against mining companies and states’ resource politics.


In collaboration with Livia Schubiger (Duke University), Simon Bornschier, and Marco Steenbergen (University of Zurich), this project examines the determinants of disruptive mobilization against mining projects and the regional, national, and transnational political institutions that may help avoid or mitigate the negative externalities of natural resource extraction. Our theoretical framework combines motivational and structural approaches to explain disruptive ethno-environmentalist mobilization. Empirically, we construct a new multi-level dataset on mining conflicts in Latin America between 2000 and 2013, using a semi-automated strategy of news media event coding.

This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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