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Hidden Agendas In Conflict Research: Informants’ Interests And Research Objectivity In The Niger Delta

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Chapter Summary


The growth of local readership promises to become an increasingly topical research theme, which requires the analysis of local expectations and the researcher's choices and doubts rather than ethical codification. This chapter explores the relationship between truth, silence, rumour and violence as well as the epistemological and methodological challenges for conducting fieldwork in, and especially writing about, such a situation. Legalization produced so much silence, due to a widespread notion that conflict issues can only be addressed in a legal or quasi-legal setting and must be hushed up in daily life. The chapter first illustrates the silence with the case of a soccer match. It demonstrates how in post-violence Konkomba/Nanumba coexistence, dialogue about conflict issues was continuously subverted by a communication strategy of silence and diverted to authoritative speech.

Keywords:authoritative speech; silence; violence


The sub-ethnic conflict between Ife and Modakeke is one of the country's protracted conflicts, and arguably the oldest in Africa. Within the broader context of studying dilemmas in Nigeria's democracy, this chapter sets out to understand the interplay of forces underlying the Ife-Modakeke conflict and its metamorphosis. It focuses on the role of migration; the pursuit of group rights; the nature and effects of state actions; elite and civil society involvement. The first section of the chapter presents an historical overview of the Ife-Modakeke conflict; tracing its origin, evolution and nature across time and space. The second section examines the research methodology adopted for the study. The third section interrogates the nature of the challenges confronted during the research, and how they were managed. The last section summarizes findings.

Keywords:Africa; group rights; Ife-Modakeke conflict; migration; Nigeria; society involvement




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