Roadblock Politics The Origins of Violence in Central Africa

A CIPS Event
Wednesday, 23 March 2022 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Off-campus address: 
Contact information
Contact person: 
Anna Bogic
Registration required: 
Cost to attend: 
Free of charge
Event language: 

Presented by CIPS

In this talk, Schouten will present the main findings of his book Roadblock Politics: the Origins of Violence in Central Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2022), which argues that roadblocks aren’t just a symptom of corruption or state failure but encapsulate a distinct and meaningful form of order-making. The failure to recognize the central role of roadblocks in this region is due to the stubborn myth that political actors, armed or not, behave like aspiring Westphalian states, trying to control as much territory and people as possible. Instead, Schouten will discuss how communities, rebels and state security forces forge resistance and power out of control over these narrow points of passage. He reveals the connections between these roadblocks in Central Africa and global supply chains, tracking the flow of multinational corporations and UN agencies alike through them, to show how they encapsulate a form of power, which thrives under conditions of supply chain capitalism. He also traces how crucial control over long-distance trade has been in the deep history of the region. In doing so, he develops a new lens through which to understand what drives state formation and conflict in the region, offering a radical alternative to explanations that foreground control over minerals, territory or population as key drivers of Central Africa’s violent history.


Peer Schouten (PhD) is a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and associate researcher at the International Peace Information Service.


Prof. Rita Abrahamsen, Director of CIPS and Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa