Roadblock Politics - Peer Schouten

Roadblock Politics

The Origins of Violence in Central Africa

There are so many roadblocks in Central Africa that it is hard to find a road that does not have one. Based on research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), Peer Schouten maps more than a thousand of these roadblocks to show how communities, rebels and state security forces forge resistance and power out of control over these narrow points of passage. Les mer
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There are so many roadblocks in Central Africa that it is hard to find a road that does not have one. Based on research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), Peer Schouten maps more than a thousand of these roadblocks to show how communities, rebels and state security forces forge resistance and power out of control over these narrow points of passage. Schouten reveals the connections between these roadblocks in Central Africa and global supply chains, tracking the flow of multinational corporations and UN agencies alike through them, to show how they encapsulate a form of power, which thrives under conditions of supply chain capitalism. In doing so, he develops a new lens through which to understand what drives state formation and conflict in the region, offering a radical alternative to explanations that foreground control over minerals, territory or population as key drivers of Central Africa's violent history.

«'It's astonishing how many corners of both state-making and resistance theory are illuminated by this brilliant, deeply-researched study of roadblocks. No serious student of sovereignty and political economy ought to be allowed out the door in the morning without having digested its contents and applied the magnifying lens it provides. It has that 'world in a grain of sand' quality to it.' James C. Scott, Yale University»

«'In this book, Peer Schouten lays bare a truth about the connection between violence and development - that is, development as we in the west might have called it. The indigenous people of Central Africa might have thought of it in very different terms. Many critical analyses have been written about how we, non-Africans, left our savage traces all over Africa, one of the major sites of our extractions. A must read.' Saskia Sassen, Columbia University, New York»

«'… authoritative analysis …' Nicolas Van De Walle, Foreign Affairs»

«'Based on extraordinary research in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, this is an innovative approach to the study of conflict dynamics in resource-rich areas with roadblocks as alternative financing mechanisms for armed groups. By placing roadblock politics in a comprehensive historical perspective including pre-twentieth century Europe and precolonial Africa, Peer Schouten has made an outstanding contribution to state formation theory.' Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill»

1. Introduction: Sovereignty on a Shoestring; Part I. A Prehistory of the Roadblock: 2. Hongo Polities (1830-1890); 3. Infrastructural Empire (1890-1960); 4. Ruination and the Revenge of Distance (1960-2000); Part II. Roadblock Politics: 5. La Route, Ca Coute: Roadblock Geographies; 6. The Supply Chain Frontier; 7. CAR: War of Roads; 8. Nonconventional Logistics; 9. Transparency Goes to War; Conclusions; Bibliography.
Peer Schouten is a Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, Associate Researcher of the International Peace Information Service, and Editor-in-Chief of Theory Talks. His work combines deep fieldwork in Central Africa with theory development and engagement with policy debates.