University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School


An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science

Richard Hugues K. Ehui
M.A. in Political Science, May 2008, University of Missouri – St. Louis
M.A. in Politics and Government, May 2003, Illinois State University –Normal, IL
M.A. in French Literature and Culture, December 2000, Illinois State University – Normal, IL
M.A. in Philosophy, June 1990, Université Nationale de Côte d’Ivoire
CAPES in Philosophy, June 1991, École Normale Supérieure (ENS) Abidjan– Côte d’Ivoire

The Political Etiology of the Ivorian Crisis



Long hailed as a success story, a rare model of political stability and social cohesion in a region plagued by poverty, military coups, war and continuing unrest, Côte d’Ivoire, the economic powerhouse of West Africa became embroiled in a series of crises that started in the late 1990s and culminated into a protracted sociopolitical conflict, which erupted on September 19, 2002.There has since been growing interest in understanding the factors that led up to this Ivorian crisis. Existing studies, however, in most cases, are lacking and misleading in that they only looked at the issue through the narrow prism of deterministic approaches centered mainly on ethno-religious differences, without taking into consideration the central role of the state and the broader political context in which the crisis emerged. Using a statist approach and building even more specifically on Goodwin’s “state constructionism” analytical framework, this study demonstrates that the factors that fostered the Ivorian crisis and contributed to its radicalization over time are to be found primarily in the changed political context, especially in the dubious state structures and radical (ultra)nationalist policies the Ivorian political leaders put in place in the post-Houphouët-Boigny era, in their quests to consolidate their power and maintain an iron-grip control over the country. By supplementing the analysis with insights from both resource mobilization theories and framing processes, the study also goes further than previous analyses in highlighting the critical role of external (f)actors in the conflict. It explains in the process how the belligerents in the Ivorian conflict framed their grievances and how they were able to mobilize different factions of the population towards the furtherance of their goals.


Date:April 22, 2013

Time:10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Place:362 SSB


Defense of Dissertation Committee


Jean-Germain Gros, Ph.D. (Advisor)

Eduardo Silva, Ph.D. (Co-advisor)


Kenneth P. Thomas, Ph.D.

Ruth Iyob, Ph.D.