Collaboration and contestation in words: Dialogues and disputes in African social realities

In African societies today, growing inequality and continued exclusion due to ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation give rise to both contestation and cooperation for social change. This Collaborative Research Group aims to investigate how the written or spoken word is leading to collaboration and contestation in areas of social life that are marked by strife. While movements mobilize people to come together so as to organize themselves in the advocacy for specific objectives, they can also foster collective contestation against structures of power, inequality and infringements on (human) rights. Movements that express politically or religiously charged antagonisms in the pursuit of particular (fundamentalist, extremist, exclusionary) identities often rely on particular forms of speech that produce collaboration amongst them. Understanding the interrelationship between specific discourses, polemics, dialogues and disputes through which both collaboration (between some groups) and contestation (between some other groups) emerges, and how these are expressed in the media, the public domain and in specific texts, is highly relevant in African societies today. These worded repertoires of cooperation and dispute are at the heart of this CRG's attention and will be studied from different disciplinary perspectives.

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