Digging for Trouble: Violence and Frontier Urbanization

Principal Collaborator: Oliver Jütersonke

In July 2014, Oliver Jütersonke, through the CCDP, was commissioned to write a chapter for the 2015 Small Arms Survey Yearbook. The chapter focuses on violence related to “frontier urbanization”, defined as the rapid growth of urban areas to service resource extraction, particularly of oil, gas, and minerals, and often in marginalized, hitherto under-developed regions and hinterlands. Extraction tends to attract a variety of armed actors (security forces and predatory groups) to the rapidly expanding urban service areas. These towns are characterized by insufficient public service provision—including security, often out-sourced to non-state providers such as private security companies or protection squads. The violence of frontier urbanization goes beyond conflict over the resources themselves and includes urban social unrest related to precarious socio-economic and environmental conditions, as well as tensions around post-extraction decline or state-induced urban clean-up and rejuvenation plans.

The chapter was co-authored by Oliver Jütersonke and Hannah Dönges (Doctoral candidate in International Relations/Political Science and Doctoral Researcher at the CCDP), and included contributions by Stéphanie Graff, Stéphanie Perazzone, Désiré Razafindrazaka, Luisa Fernanda Trujillo Paredes, and Patricia I. Vasquez.