Identity Politics, Conflict and the Political Marketplace

Hosted by the Conflict Research Programme at LSE IDEAS

Online public event, United Kingdom


Dr Zeynep Kaya

Dr Zeynep Kaya

Visiting Fellow, LSE Middle East Centre

Dr Kasper Hoffmann

Dr Kasper Hoffmann

Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen

Professor Shalini Randeria

Professor Shalini Randeria

Discussant | Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna


Professor Mary Kaldor

Professor Mary Kaldor

Director, Conflict Research Programme

This event will look at contemporary conflicts and examine how identity politics shape, and are shaped by violence, interact with the dynamics of the political marketplace, and are used by authoritarian rulers and political-military entrepreneurs to increase and maintain their power.

Dominant identity narratives in conflict tend to be exclusivist, fomenting and reinforcing division on the basis of identity, often along sectarian, ethnic or religious lines. Violent, exclusivist identity politics are manifested in different ways in different contexts, for instance in dynamics of sectarianisation in Syria or processes of clan formation in Somalia. The intractability of many contemporary conflicts can in part be explained by the interaction between such identity politics and the extreme marketisation of politics.

This event will showcase recent findings from the Conflict Research Programme, published in a new special issue of the journal Conflict, Security & Development: ‘Identity, Violence and the Political Marketplace’. A discussion of key concepts and theoretical insights will be illustrated with case studies on the systematic, gendered sexual violence from ISIS towards the Yezidi community, and on ethnicity and ‘ethnic capital’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kasper Hoffmann (@KasperHoffmann2is a post-doc researcher at Ghent University and an Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on the intersection between the formation of ethnic identities and processes of territorialisation and on emerging forms of rebel and land governance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kasper is a is a researcher with the Conflict Research Programme - DRC Team and co-authored the article 'Violent conflict and ethnicity in the Congo: beyond materialism, primordialism and symbolism'.

Zeynep Kaya (@zeynepn_kaya) is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. Kaya is also an Academic Associate at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. She is interested in understanding how communities and political groups perceive, interact with and challenge international processes and dominant norms. Her research looks at the relationship between gender, violence and development in conflict and post-conflict contexts. Zeynep is a researcher with the Conflict Research Programme - MENA Team and author of the article 'Sexual violence, identity and gender: ISIS and the Yezidis'.

Shalini Randeria (@IWM_Vienna) is the Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna, Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, as well as the Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the IHEID. Furthermore, she holds the Excellence Chair at the University of Bremen, where she leads a research group on Soft Authoritarianism and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalisation, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities. She hosts the fortnightly podcast "Democracy in Question“ since autumn 2020.

Mary Kaldor (@KaldorM) is Professor Emeritus of Global Governance at LSE and Director of the Conflict Research Programme at LSE IDEAS. Professor Kaldor recently co-authored the article 'Identity formation and the political marketplace'. Professor Kaldor is highly regarded for her innovative work on democratisation, conflict, and globalisation. She was a founding member of European Nuclear Disarmament (END), a founder and Co-Chair of the Helsinki Citizen's Assembly and a member of the International Independent Commission to investigate the Kosovo Crisis, established by the Swedish Prime Minister.

Twitter hashtag: #LSEConflict 

About the Hosts

The Conflict Research Programme (CRP) is a four year research programme funded by the FCDO and hosted by LSE IDEAS at the LSE. Our goal is to understand and analyse the nature of contemporary conflict and to identify international interventions that ‘work’ in the sense of reducing violence or contributing more broadly to the security of individuals and communities who experience conflict. We work in five countries: DR Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Iraq and Syria.

LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it. 

Learn more.


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