Making peace, place and politics: Radio and the re-animation of urban life in post-conflict Abidjan

G15 Muirhead Ground Floor Building R21
Monday 11 June 2018 (12:00-14:00)



Speaker: Dr Fabien Cante

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire's main metropolis (roughly 5 million inhabitants, over 60 ethnic groups and a dozen nationalities), is a "wounded city." A decade of national, political and military conflict, culminating in a brutal post-electoral war in 2011, have thrown different groups' ability to live together into question. Since then, local or "proximity" radio stations – radios de proximité – have played a key role in the peace-building effort.

Supported by public authorities, international agencies and local NGOs, stations around the city have attempted to make peace tangible at local level. Drawing on 8 months of ethnographic fieldwork with producers, listeners and ordinary abidjanais residents, I show that this process of local peace-building was deeply contested.

I situate the contest less in the meaning of peace than in contrasting ways that the local itself was envisioned and performed through radio practices. Stations were implicated in two different dynamics of place-making, first as an infrastructure of everyday sociability and encounters, and second as an orchestrator for scripted, state-sanctioned performances of pacified locality. What is at stake in this contrast, I argue, is the articulation between everyday life and the political in the so-called "émergent" regime of reconstruction-era Côte d'Ivoire. 

About Fabien Cante

Fabien Cante recently obtained his PhD in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE. His doctoral research on radio and post-conflict cohabitation in Abidjan is part of a broader, interdisciplinary and comparative concern with the roles of media in city life and politics. Fabien is communications officer for the Migrants' Rights Network, has been teaching at the LSE and UCL (where he obtained an MSc in Urban Studies), and has just joined a research project on big data and politics in the Global South at the University of Amsterdam (DATACTIVE). 

Refreshments will be provided. 

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities