FOR 2757 (2019 - 2023)

Digital Mercator-Workshop 2021


On March 18-19, 2021, the LoSAM Research Group hosted the Mercator Workshop on "Local self-regulation between democracy and hierarchy. Varieties of structure and values".

The participants of the workshop.

The two organizers Dieter Neubert and Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach had succeeded in attracting renowned speakers from various universities for the two days. In addition to the organizers Barbara Schmitz and Hans-Joachim Lauth chaired the panels with a lively discussion of the LoSAM research group.

The contributions triggered a discussion with two main directions. A first group of papers referred to different forms of self-organisation along the popular idea of self-help that is supported by the international development community and civil society organizations. Gabi Beckmann (University of Applied Sciences for Intercultural Theology Hermannsburg) discussed the question "What is "local" and what is "self" in local self-organizations?" using three examples from Bolivia. Antje Daniel (University of Vienna) showed how in Cape Town South Africa a group occupying illegally a local building complex (reclaim the city) cooperates with the city administration. And a research group from Bayreuth with Matthew Sabbi, Alexander Stroh-Steckelberg and Dieter Neubert presented their research on "Legitimation strategies of councillors under national and global influence” in Ghana and showed that the elected councillors act not only as members of the local political level but also as brokers between local self-help organizations and development organizations that try to link with local partners. An example from India presented by Anupama Roy (JNU Delhi) and Ujjwal Kumar Singh (University of Delhi) showed that the local "Pathalgadhi movement" based on traditional structures tries to defend local traditional claims against the modern state including its local level governance institutions (panchayat).

The second group of contributions focused patterns of self-organizations that are in principle willing to use force. Amy Cooter's (Vanderbilt University) talked about her research on US Domestic Militias” who claim to defend the US American constitution. Two presentations from researchers of the University of Bayreuth on northern Africa showed that different patterns and groups of local self-organization overlap and often compete often with violent confrontation. Georg Klute dealt with "Competing TimeSpaces and Territorialization from Below" in Mali and Thomas Hüsken and Amal Obeidi addressed consolidated structures in embattled Libya.

Although the congress had to be held digitally due to the Covid19 pandemic, participants noted that they were nevertheless able to gather important ideas for their own research in the LoSAM working group.

More information about the workshop can be found here.

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