Methodological seminar – Vincent Foucher

335620185 160670800183998 1049639502877168560 nOn the 31st of March, IFRA-Nigeria hosted the second session of its new series of methodological seminars. Vincent Foucher (Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), researcher at the Sciences Po Bordeaux affiliated with the laboratory Les Afriques dans le monde and senior analyst for the non-governmental organisation International Crisis Group). Vincent Foucher extensively worked on the jihadist movement Boko Haram in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.

He noted that, while there is an abundant academic production on jihad in northern Nigeria, most of it draws on secondary sources which themselves rely very little on primary sources. This has allowed conspiracy theories to exert a lot of influence, including in academic production. This parlous situation owes to the difficulties in access to the field.

This has not prevented the production of solid macro-sociological analysis of the early days of the insurgency, building on research on Islam in northern Nigeria and Nigerian politics, but, according to Vincent Foucher, it is a crucial problem when examining the subsequent development of the insurgency.

Only recently has the situation begun to improve, with access to former captives of the jihadi, civilians living under their control, and then, eventually, defectors. It is important to understand that time is a major factor, constraining what is possible and impossible in terms of research. It is also important to keep in mind the type of knowledge that these different sources can have about the jihadi organisations.

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Tags: Violence

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