Frontiers of Ethnic Brutality in an African City: Explaining the Spread and Recurrence of Violent Conflict in Jos, Nigeri

Kingsley Lawrence Madueke, Floris Vermeulen


There is considerable consensus among scholars of ethnic riots that ethnically mixed areas are more prone to collective violence than segregated ones. The conclusion is based on studies that compare levels of violence between segregated and mixed localities. While this addresses disparities between settlements of dissimilar ethnic composition, variations in the spread of violence across ethnically mixed areas remain a mystery. Seeking to explicate these variations, we propose an approach that examines not only the ethnic composition of a neighbourhood, but also its location in relation to adjoining neighbourhoods of similar or dissimilar ethnic makeup and their shared boundaries. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Jos, a violence-ridden Nigerian city, we demonstrate that ethnically mixed areas located between segregated ones experience more incidents of violence than mixed neighbourhoods not comparably located. Our findings have both academic and practical implications.

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