Smart phones and social bonds: communication technology and inter-ethnic cooperation in Kenya

Martin-Shields, Charles / Elizabeth Stones
External Publications (2014)

in: Journal of Peacebuilding and Development 9 (3), 50-64


The expansion of access to mobile phones in the developing world has provided new opportunities for development and peacebuilding institutions to reach communities, and for communities to develop local development and peacebuilding solutions. Kenya has seen a particularly high concentration of programming geared towards using mobile phones for banking, election monitoring and violence prevention, using crowdsourcing methods to collect and share information. While there have been a number of notable crowdsourcing programmes that have been successful at preventing violence, there remains limited theorisation in the peacebuilding community about why these successes occurred. Using Fearon and Laitin's (American Political Science Review 90 [1996]: 715–795) models of inter-ethnic cooperation, intra-group organising and inter-group policing, we explore whether success in crowdsourcing for violence prevention is a function of direct intra-community organising, or is an outcome of previously unavailable information being broadcast on traditional media such as radio.

About the author

Martin-Shields, Charles

Political Science


Further experts