Propensity to Violence among Young Fulbe

a Project by Nathalie Piskorz

Project Description 

The idea for this project came after a seminar on the ethnology of communication with Professor Schareika. There we talked about different forms of communication that can be studied from the ethnological perspective and with the help of ethnological methods. Professor Schareika asked in the seminar if we have ideas for own projects around the topic of ethnology of communication. While jogging, I thought about quarrels and forms of quarrels and what an interesting form of communication a quarrel is.

When Professor Schareika told me about his own research on peace and conflict studies in his colloquium the following semester and offered me the opportunity to participate in his ongoing projects, I decided to develop a project on violence. I was also inspired by a workshop on security policy in the Sahel and the question of whether Europe should intervene in this conflict-ridden region. There is an increase in violence and radicalization in the Sahel and all the bordering countries.

After what I heard and learned, I am interested in finding out how conflicts can turn into violent clashes. Above all, I want to know where violent conflicts come from and what the origin of violence can be.

Before the field research, I read about climatic problems in the Sahel due to increasing droughts, lack of space for nomadic pastoralist societies to lead their herds to fertile pasture and water, and increasing violent conflicts between farmers and pastoralists. To narrow down the topic, I decided to follow in Professor Schareika’s footsteps and do research on the Fulbe as well. For further narrowing, I wanted to focus specifically on young Fulbe, their problems and conflict issues. Pretty much all countries in the Sahel are politically unstable or insecure. Benin proved to be a suitable research country because it is safe and politically stable at the moment. Additionally Professor Schareika maintains good contacts to Benin which facilitated my entry into the research field.

About Me 

I am 29 years old and have been living and studying Ethnology at the University of Göttingen since 2013. I studied ethnology during a year abroad in Bolivia as part of the “weltwärts” program of the German Red Cross. In my Bachelor’s degree, I studied ethnology and musicology in a two-subject Bachelor’s program. But professionally I saw more interesting perspectives in ethnology and decided to do a mono-master in ethnology. After working in the restaurant business for many years to finance my studies, I took over a café in Göttingen in the middle of the Corona pandemic 2020, which I still run today. There I can put a lot of what I learned about people and culture in my ethnology studies into practice or observe it in everyday life. I would like to continue my studies in anthropology and do a doctorate if time and my life circumstances allow it.

Summary of Findings

The summery of my findings follow after I worked on them in Professor Schareikas colloquium-class in this years summer-semester.