Claire Médard

Claire Médard is an IRD Researcher.

Areas of Research:

– Boundaries, State and Violence: the Making of Territory and Strangers within their own country (Kenya, Uganda)

C. Médard’s previous researches in East Africa have led her to study State territory both as an ideological projection and a territorial framework of control. Conflicts in Kenya and Uganda have highlighted the emergence of internal boundaries, demarcating exclusive ethnic territories, both inherited from colonial administration and reinvented in recent administrative creations (ethnic districts) and in indigenous land claims. Boundaries are ordinarily associated with the idea of exclusion, omitting under-lying dialectical processes of inclusion and exclusion. The State itself initiated a process of territorial segregation between people. The issue of the nation-state is to be examined within this context. In an effort to capture the articulation between State territory and land claims, based on identity assertions, renewed attention was given to neo-patrimonial practices and to the issue of land administration in a comparative perspective (Kenya, Uganda), in order to ascertain their contribution to the creation of inequalities and emergence of violence.

– Negotiating Access to Land : The Changing East African Heritage (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania)

Within the scope of a proposed programme carried out in partnership with the Centre for Population and Applied Statistics (CPAS, University of Makerere, Kampala) and the ‘Centre Population et Développement’ (CEPED UMR 196 University Paris Descartes- IRD – INED) from February 2011, C. Médard is focusing on the negotiated access to land in Uganda within local, national and global strategies and circulations, drawing on comparisons with other East-African countries. In Kenya and in Uganda, identity and territorial strategies to claim ancestral land are deeply rooted. The recent crisis in Kenya (during the post electoral violence in 2008) has revealed to what extent this kind of strategy is widespread in the country. In the Tanzanian case, contrasting with the Kenyan and Ugandan cases, the language of ethnicity is not as instrumental at the level of national politics. Nevertheless, in all three cases, the State’s prerogatives to define and redefine access to resources are well established. Analysing the plurality of strategies at different scales, C. Médard will explore the implementation of national and international policies, regulating access to land and associated resources as well as their uses. Land-tenure and territorial changes are studied from the angle of circulation, internal mobility and the efforts to control mobility. Several case studies will be explored.

Publications 2013

Médard C., Golaz V., 2013, ” Creating dependency: land and gift-giving practices in the 2011 elections in Uganda “, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 20p.

Publications 2012

Duvail S.; Médard C., Hamerlynck O. and Nyingi D.W., 2012, Land and water grabbing in an East African coastal wetland: The case of the Tana delta. Water Alternatives 5(2): 322-343.
Blot O., Golaz V., Médard C. (2012) ” Tensions et mutations foncières en Afrique de l’est “, IRD Sciences au Sud N 63, rubrique planète.

Publications 2011

Médard Claire, Golaz Valérie, 2011, Les frontières intérieures du Kenya: une contrainte pour l’accès à  la terre. Accessed on 23 August 2011, URL :

Valérie Golaz, Claire Médard, 2011, Titres de propriété et insécurité foncière au Buganda. Récits contrastés. Accessed on 23 August 2011, URL  :

Valérie Golaz, Claire Médard, 2011, Utopies à  Rakai. Accumulation foncière et investissements internationaux, Transcontinentales, sociétés, idéologie, système mondial, URL: To be published.

Publications 2010

Médard Claire, 2010, City planning in Nairobi, The stakes, the people, the sidetracking. In H. Charton-Bigot et D. Rodriguez-Torres, Nairobi Today, the paradox of a fragmented city, Dar Es Salaam, Mkuki Na Nyota Publishers and IFRA Nairobi, pp.25-60.
Médard Claire, 2010, ‘Indigenous’ lands claims in Kenya: a case-study of Chebyuk, Mount Elgon district. In Chris Alden and Ward Anseeuw (editors), The Struggle over Land in Africa. Conflicts, Politics and Change. Cape Town, Human Science Research Council (HSRC) Press, pp.19-36.

Duvail S., Paul J.-L., Médard C., 2010, Les stratégies des communautés locales face aux grands projets d’aménagement des zones humides côtières en Afrique de l’Est, Politique africaine n 117, pp. 149-172.

Publications 2009

Médard C., 2009, Crise politique et foncière au Kenya. In Andrew N., Babo A, Médard C., Antil A. Les questions foncières rurales comme facteur de crise en Afrique subsaharienne: Afrique du Sud, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya. Note de l’Ifri, décembre, p.44-57.


Médard Claire, 2009, “Elected leaders, militias and prophets : violence in Mount Elgon (2006-2008)” pp. 339-361, in Lafargue J. (ed), The General Elections in Kenya, 2007, Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est, special issue. Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Dar Es Salaam.

Médard Claire, 2009, “Key issues in disentangling the Kenyan Crisis : evictions, autochthony and land privatization” pp. 365-381, in Lafargue J. (ed), The General Elections in Kenya, 2007, Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est, special issue. Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Dar Es Salaam.

Publications 2008

Médard Claire, 2008, ” Elus, miliciens et prophètes. Violences au Mont Elgon, Kenya, 2006-2008 “, 2008, Politique africaine n 109. pp. 150-166.

Médard Claire, 2008, ” Les frontières de la violence au Kenya “, 2008, EchoGéo, Sur le vif, en ligne depuis le 12 Mars 2008. URL :

Médard Claire, 2008, ” Quelques clés pour démêler la crise kényane : Spoliation, autochtonie et privatisation foncière “, 2008, Les Cahiers n 37, IFRA, en ligne depuis le 11 avril. URL :

Médard Claire, 2008, ” Quelques clés pour démêler la crise kényane : Spoliation, autochtonie et privatisation foncière “, in Lafargue J. (dir), Les élections générales de 2007 au Kenya IFRA Karthala 264 p.

Media, Press

Kenya. Lutte à  mort pour un toit. Claire Médard with Matthieu Miralles, June 2008, Alternatives internationales, n  39, pp. 31-33.

Chronique d’un chaos annoncé Géraldine Soudrien with Claire Médard , 2008, L’Histoire n 329- mars.

Programme 2000 ans d’histoire, Patrice Gélinet on Kenya, 18 February 2008, with Hélène Charton.

Matins de France Culture programme on 4th of February 2008 on Kenya.

Patricia Loison Programme on Kenya, Itélé (Canal + chaîne internationale), 29th January 2008.

Face à  face sur le Kenya, France 24, 11th January 2008.

” Des tensions dues à  des frustrations électorales “, 10-15 January 2008, Réforme Fanny Bijaoui

” Les vrais ressorts de la crise kenyane “, 10 January 2008, L’Humanité Edgar Mbaza

IRD Communication

Olivier Blot (in collaboration with), 2008, Kenya. Entre crise territoriale et identitaire. IRD Sciences au Sud N  44, p. 10.

Grégory Fléchet (in collaboration with), 2008, Au Kenya, un combat pour la terre se transforme en revendications territoriales ethniques, IRD Actualités scientifiques, Fiche N 292 mars. URL :

Gaelle Courcoux(in collaboration with), 2008, La crise kényane un conflit parmi d’autres, IRD Actualités scientifiques, Fiche N  289 février. URL :