Institutional change, conflicts and responses in the Sahelian commons

Haller, Tobias; Paese, Andra; Kronenburg García, Angela; Bertoncin, Marina (13 June 2019). Institutional change, conflicts and responses in the Sahelian commons (Unpublished). In: ECAS Conference: Connections and Disruptions. University of Edinburgh, UK. June 11-14, 2019. 10.22582/ecas2019prg

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

We address the issue of the turmoil in the Sahel from a resource access, spatial and institutional change perspective. Many of the problems in the Sahel might look like being related to demographic pressures and climate change only. However, a closer look into concrete cases shows that these are long-standing issues for which pastoralist and farming groups had developed coping strategies and institutions. These enabled the management of land and related common-pool resources (CPRs) such as pasture, fisheries and water in the area, in flexible ways. The actual turmoil is based, among other aspects, on problems of institutional change and new resource frontier contexts, as part of historical processes that undermined common property regimes by introducing state and private property leading to various forms of enclosures and instabilities. We present illustrative studies of landgrabs in Ghana, green grabbing in Northern Cameroon, mining and large-scale irrigation schemes in Niger and Lake Chad region. These cases show how pastoral groups and marginal farmer-fishing communities are losing access to CPRs, leading to problems of environmental degradation (lack of mobility, coordination of resource use and to pollution in mining and agro-industrial farming). The enclosures are often legitimated by negative discourses used by states and companies for labelling local communities. Such constellations lead to conflicts over resources as well as to local responses of resistance (ranging from weapons of the weak and legal strategies to open conflicts). Finally, these resource-related dynamics of conflict and resistance relate to the recent political instability in the Sahel.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Haller, Tobias


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Anja Julienne Wohlgemuth

Date Deposited:

04 May 2020 09:08

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:37

Publisher DOI:



Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback