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Violence Elites and Resilience in States Under Stress

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - VERSUS (Violence Elites and Resilience in States Under Stress)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

● What is the problem/issue being addressed?
The ERC consolidator project grant Violence, Elites and Resilience in States Under Stress (VERSUS) engages in the study of disaggregated violence and politics in Africa. This project assesses the roles of elites in political networks, and estimates the effect of formal and informal characteristics and relationships on the arrangement and distribution of power. The relevance of the project is to better understand political survival, the use of violence and policy-entry points to improve the political situation of people.

● Why is it important for society?
VERSUS asks how the composition and competition within governments in developing countries can assist researchers, governments, policy makers and practitioners in understanding how crises develop. It provides updated details on the composition of leadership in crisis and democratizing states; it develops accessible models to understand the conditions that lead to uncertainty, and it describes the governing logic of states.
● What are the overall objectives?
The overall objectives of VERSUS is to link the domestic politics of African and unstable states to the crises that occur therein. There is little known or researched about the general patterns of domestic political behaviour, composition of government and strategies of political survival across African states; this has led to serious misdiagnosis in which crisis happens and how it evolves. VERSUS advances this field through testing theories of governance and structure, composition and elite actions. It will explain why we see the types of government we do across states, and what conflict vulnerabilities those governments generate.
In brief and as noted below, this project has to date:
1) Created Version 1 of the African political elite and cabinet dataset (ACPED). Covering 23 countries
2) Began ACPED version 2 to be extended to all of Africa. Currently comprises 28 countries.
3) Completed an article introducing ACPED which is ‘In press’
4) Completed fieldwork and elite census of Sierra Leone
5) Completed fieldwork and elite census of Zimbabwe
6) Completed fieldwork and elite census of Yemen
7) Completed fieldwork and elite census of Cote D’Ivoire
8) Completed fieldwork and elite census of South Sudan
9) Completed fieldwork and elite census of Kenya
10) Began elite census for Uganda
11) Began elite census for Somalia
12) Completed two PhDs; one defended (another to defend in Summer 2020)
13) Started two PhDs
14) Completed a “Yemeni Experts Meeting” in summer 2019
15) Completed a “Kenyan Political Experts Meeting” in summer 2018
16) Completed a second “Kenyan political Experts Meeting” in early 2019
17) Completed a “South Sudan Experts Meeting” in summer 2018
18) Completed a “Ugandan first Experts Meeting” in Winter 2018
19) Completed several manuscripts as documented (see below)
20) Completed and finalizing several working papers (see below)
21) Created an elites and network website
22) Created a public website with VERSUS materials and ACPED data download
23) Engaged in several international meetings to present work on Versus
To date, no project but Versus has produced a monthly record of cabinet ministers across Africa, complemented by representation and balance of power metrics. These data provide uniquely insightful information for public use. In addition, we have challenged several paradigms about African governance, conflict and exclusion, gerrymandering, elite politics and coups across long-running regimes.

We expect that these data and new models of African politics will have a tremendous effect on African research and knowledge sharing across African researchers.