The goal of my research on environmental security is to come to a better understanding of when, how, and why some disputes between herders and farmers escalate into widespread violent violence between communities, while most others are peacefully resolved. This research was funded by a Mershon Grant (2008-2010) and builds on my earlier ethnographic and theoretical work on herder-farmer conflicts in West Africa published in the Canadian Journal of African Studies (2006a, 2006b). In an article in Human Organization (2010) I outlined an analytical approach to examine conflicts over natural resources. I argued that analysis should focus on the dynamics of the conflicts themselves. I am currently conducting a comparative study of herder-farmer conflicts across the African continent. The comparative study allows me to determine to what causal combinations of different structural and processual variables are responsible for the escalation of herder-farmer conflicts. My students and I have conducted a literature review of herder-farmer conflicts in Africa and built a database of herder-farmer conflicts in Africa. I am currently in the process of analyzing the data using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The goals is to build a general theory of herder-farmer conflicts in Africa using variables yielded by both structural and processual approaches.
Moritz, Mark. (2010). Understanding Herder-Farmer Conflicts in West Africa: Outline of an Analytical Approach. Human Organization 69(2):138-148. PDF