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A Cocktail of Civilisational Motives:

Reflections on History, Politics and Social Marginalisation in the Boko Haram Insurgence in Nigeria

Map of Nigeria

Thursday 26 November 2015

Daryll Ford Senior Common Room, UCL Anthropology

14 Taviton Street, London WC1H OBW

4.30-6.30 p.m. followed by a reception in the Anthropology Common Room, ground floor.

Speaker: Edlyne E. Anugwom

Chair: Murray Last (UCL Anthropology)

(Department of Sociology/Anthropology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka)

Contrary to widespread narratives, the Boko Haram episode remains a complex reading of the modern socio-political history of Nigeria. While the Boko Haram has its unique characteristics, it is nonetheless one more episode in a long history of the utilisation of Islamic fundamentalism in the pursuance of socio-political goals in the country. However, the Boko Haram should be seen as straddling attempts to rewrite the civilisational history of Islam in Nigeria, discontent with the political situation, and a reflection and product of severe social marginalization seen largely as produced by the Nigerian state and its political elites. Therefore, the Boko Haram should not be treated wholly as a terrorist organisation but also as a rude awakening of the Nigeria state to the consequences of systematic social marginalization, disempowerment of citizens, and the increasing lacuna between the rulers and the ruled. Hence, the resolve to deal with the undoubted terror of the Boko Haram should be matched with a desire to provide answers and solutions to some of the salient issues raised by the episode in the contemporary socio-political life of Nigeria. This would not only address the immediate need to deal with the Boko Haram insurgence but also nip other such future uprisings in the bud.

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