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Fakultät für Biologie, Chemie und Geowissenschaften

Politische Geographie – Prof. Dr. Martin Doevenspeck

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Forschung

Politische Geographie verstehen wir als die Untersuchung von Räumen der Politik und von politischen Dimensionen von Räumen. Sei es Globalisierung, Politische Ökologie, Fragen von Identität oder Ressourcenzugang: Konflikte sind ein Querschnittsthema der Politischen Geographie.

Im weiten Feld der außergeographischen Friedens- und Konfliktforschung stellt Raum meist nur die Kulisse für Konflikte dar, die Ziele, Werte und Mittel zum Gegenstand haben. Wir betrachten Raum dagegen als Gegenstand von und darüber hinaus als einen zentralen Zugang zu Konflikten. Das heißt, Grenzen, Territorien und Territorialität sind sowohl Gegenstände von Konflikten als auch analytische Zugänge zu Konflikten.

Zur Zeit beschäftigen wir uns insbesondere mit Migration und Flucht, dem Umgang mit Risiko im Kontext von Naturgefahren und bewaffneten Konflikten, mit der lokalen Politik konfliktbehafteter Zugänge zu natürlichen Ressourcen, der Politischen Ökologie von Mobilität und Immobilität, Grenzräumen und den politischen Geographien des Klimawandels. Der regionale Schwerpunkt liegt dabei in West- und Zentralafrika.

Laufende Projekte

​Land, Identity and Power conflicts in the Bashali Chiefdom (Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo)Einklappen

​Violent conflicts in North-Kivu province in Eastern Congo have been mainly associated with struggles about mineral resources. Issues of land and local power and the ways the two involve ethnicity in conflict dynamics are often overlooked. The aim of this research project is to better understand the role of ethnicity for both access to land and political power. Actors networks as well as the complex institutional landscape in which they operate will be analysed to identify key drivers of the ongoing tensions.

​Territory, Identity and politics in a frontier zone: the case of central BeninEinklappen

Based on the interpretative framework of the "African frontier" of Igor Kopytoff, this research project refers to the debate on agricultural colonization, the meaning of territory and belonging in sub-Saharan Africa. Through a multi-sited ethnographic approach, we seek to scrutinize the inter-linkages between struggles over access to land and local politics in a frontier zone of central Benin.

Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS)Einklappen

Martin Doevenspeck is vice dean of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS). BIGSAS is now in the second phase funded by the German Research Foundation as part of the Excellence Initiative since 2007. In the focus of this unique structure of creative and innovative training are approximately 100 Junior Fellows from 27 African, American, Asian and European countries. The PhD students benefit from a clearly structured, academic and career-oriented training as well as a genuine expertise in the African studies which has increased continuously since the foundation of the University of Bayreuth. The international network with Partner Universities on the African continent creates even more so excellent conditions for the research of our Junior Fellows.

Abgeschlossene Projekte

​Translations of urban regulation within the relation of Kigali (Rwanda) and SingaporeEinklappen

The dissertation project uses the Master-Planning process of the City of Kigali to analyse a cooperative process of learning in urban regulation between actors located in the two highly specific urban contexts of Kigali and Singapore. This process entails diverse narrative framings and practices to model urban planning expertise – to render geographic imaginations transfer- and transformable – as well as concrete practices to make certain aspects of this knowledge work in legal frameworks, institutions and practices of Kigali's urban re-construction. The perspective of 'translocal learning' helps to focus on how relations of knowledge-transfer/-translation between different urban contexts are coordinated and performed through a range of institutions and actors. Furthermore it integrates an angle on how such a policy mobility process is transformed through recurring internal adjustments of different (trans-)local actors as well as changing institutional cooperations towards the implementation of a broad set of 'best-practice'-approaches in an urban administrative environment facing severe institutional and individual capacity gaps.

​MICLE: Klimawandel, Umweltveränderungen und Migration am Beispiel der Sahelländer Mali und SenegalEinklappen

Das interdisziplinäre Forschungsprojekt MICLE beschäftigt sich mit den Umweltwandel und Migration in Mali und Senegal. Politiker und Wissenschaftler bezeichnen den Klimawandel als eine der größten Bedrohungen für menschliche Entwicklung in Afrika und sagen massive Bevölkerungsbewegungen als Folge einer zunehmenden Zahl von Extremereignissen wie Dürren, von zunehmender Wasserknappheit, Abnahme der Nahrungsmittelproduktion und Verlust an Biodiversität voraus. Dabei ist das Konstrukt der „Umweltflucht“ aufgrund des ihm inhärenten Geodeterminismus, der konzeptionellen Unklarheiten und politischen Instrumentalisierungen höchst problematisch. Umweltveränderungen als Hauptursache für Migration zu identifizieren ist praktisch unmöglich. Daher beschäftigt sich das Forschungsprojekt mit den multiplen Ursachen von Migration im Sahel um die internen Logiken zu verstehen und Migrationsbewegungen theoretisch zu kontextualisieren.

The interdisciplinary resaerarch project MICLE focuses on the linkages between environmental change and migration in Mali and Senegal. Politicians and scientists increasingly emphasise climate change as one of the major threats to sustainable human livelihoods in Africa and predict massive population movements as a response to a growing number of extreme events such as droughts, increasing water scarcity, a detrimental decrease of food production, changing disease patterns and loss of biodiversity. However, the environmental refugee concept is highly problematic due to geodeterministic stereotyping, terminological ambiguity and political instrumentalisation. Identifying environmental change as the primary cause of these movements is extremely difficult. Therefore, the project faces the challenge to balance the multiple factors causing migration in order to understand its internal logics and contextualise it theoretically. Furthermore, it aims at providing a basis for the formulation of appropriate analyses enabling us to predict future migrations in an interdisciplinary approach bringing together political scientists, sociologists, demographers, geographers and natural scientists.

​The spatial dimensions of risk in the Congolese-Rwandan borderlandEinklappen
  • Ansprechpartner: Prof. Dr. Martin Doevenspeck
  • Projektstart: 01.10.2006
  • Projektende: 31.05.2010
  • Partner: Pole Institute, Goma (DR Congo); Goma Volcanic Observatory (GVO), Kigali Idependent University, Gisenyi, Rwanda
  • Finanzierung: Centre of Natural Risk and Development (ZENEB), Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Bayreuth

Surrounded by Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo, two of the worlds most dangerous volcanoes, Lake Kivu that contains huge quantities of explosive gases and exposed to the impacts of prolonged civil war the Rwandan-Congolese borderland seem to be an ‘impossible site’. The aim of this project is to understand the various ways in which people understand risk in a context of a everyday presence of an exceptional variety of direct and indirect life-threatening hazards, to check the relevance of in the Northern academic debate prevailing notions of risk for these emic understandings and to link them to some spatial dimensions of peoples’ navigating of this context. Its focus is on the objective accumulation of different types of dangers in a delimited material space and the ambiguous relationship between these tangible facts and the socially and spatially differentiated translations of dangers into risks as well as the spatial practices closely linked to theses processes of translation. Depending on emotions shaped by previous experiences and economically determined choices borderlanders perceive and thus spatially translate dangers differently.

​Translations of the ‘adaptation to climate change’ paradigm in Eastern AfricaEinklappen

The project starts from the observation that society-environment relations in Africa are currently facing an intense re-shaping through a multitude of climate related programmes, conceptually developed at an international level, translated into projects and programmes at the national level and negotiated and appropriated ideologically, socially and economically at the local level. It takes the global concept of ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ as a travelling idea that was initially designed by scientists in the North and is presently “travelling” to the South. The project is based on the following hypotheses:

(1) The ‘travelling’ of the global adaptation to climate change paradigm to Africa is an ambiguous and contested translation process in which the idea undergoes reinterpretation, modification and appropriation so that it matches experiences, needs and interests of stakeholders at multiple levels in Africa.

(2) Translation processes are structured by translation regimes that are constituted by a specific set of actors, networks of communication, institutional patterns of interaction, and knowledge resources.

(3) Translations and their social, technological and environmental materialisations will imply fundamental changes in the way people exploit, manage and conserve their environment and thus be accompanied by conflicts between different social groups with their respective interests.

The key question is twofold and asks on the one hand how actors in different translation regimes in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda are able to unfold their capacities of adaptation and creativity in the process of translation of the adaptation idea and on the other hand how the mobilisation and transformation of these capacities shape environmental governance and thus a re-ordering of state-society-environment relations in these countries.

​Water Management in Khartoum International Research Project (WAMAKHAIR)Einklappen

The objectives of the project are to (1) describe the system of water distribution in the metropolitan area of Khartoum, to (2) analyse differences in the access to water in terms of social and spatial differentiation, and to (3) interpret socio-spatial transformations of urban water management in relation to current changes. The project builds on the hypothesis that in this sense water flows can be seen as an expression of power and change in contemporary urban societies. The key question is how the present regulatory system reflects transformational processes within the urban society and its fragments, i.e. competition, differentiation and exclusion on the one hand, and cohesion and inclusion on the other. The second hypothesis of the project argues that these partly contradictory processes can be observed in spatial patterns and growing disparities. On this basis the project will focus on five case study areas that represent different forms of livelihood and settlement, i.e. an upper class area with high water consumption, a middle class neighbourhood with increasing water scarcity, a squatter settlement with highly vulnerable inhabitants, a peri-urban peasant settlement and an industrial area. The case studies will be compared with respect to the practice of water use, the local perception of and the discourse about water, the mechanisms of water distribution on different levels of the distributive system, and the strategies different social groups within the urban society develop to negotiate theirs needs and interests. The third hypothesis of the project puts the case of Khartoum into a larger context of interpretation. It argues that local processes reflect both the global influences of economic liberalization and legitimatory discourses on the basis of Islam.

​Border economy and politics: Small-scale trade and smuggling at the Congo/Rwanda state boundaryEinklappen

The aim of this study is to analyze how the border economy in Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Gisenyi (Rwanda) is shaped by small-scale cross border trade and smuggling and to understand what these activities tell us about state society relations and the legitimacy of the state.


Verantwortlich für die Redaktion: Univ.Prof.Dr. Martin Doevenspeck

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