Researchers are now invited to submit their paper for an upcoming workshop, “Roadblocks and revenues: new geographies of taxation in conflict” to be held on 15-17 May, 2023 at the Danish Institute for International Studies in Copenhagen.


From Afghanistan to Colombia and from Somalia to Myanmar, checkpoints are ubiquitous across contexts of conflict or contested statehood, and anecdotes of rag-tag militia operating roadblocks are standard fare in journalistic coverage of civil wars. Over the past years, some evidence has emerged suggesting that checkpoint taxation forms a main strategy of revenue generation for rebel groups and that roadblocks form a major bone of contention in conflict.

Moreover, checkpoints appear to be a key interface between local conflict actors, international aid organisations and major formal trade flows. Such evidence has the potential to challenge received notions of armed groups, conflict economies and statehood. It also substantially expands our understanding and vocabulary on informal taxation and their relationship with statehood, order, and legitimacy. And yet, empirical accounts of these questions are often disconnected and siloed in different geographies and fields of study.

With this workshop, we want to take a first step to put checkpoints on the map as a significant phenomenon in the study of revenue generation, state formation, armed group policy and practice as well as authority and legitimacy in conflict-torn spaces and other complex political orders. To do so, we hope to bring together participants from diverse fields of practice (e.g., anthropologists, area studies experts, sociologists, criminologists, political scientists and geographers, economists as well as conflict analysts and practitioners) for an empirically grounded joint exploration of the topic, elevating it beyond the confines of established approaches, debates, and disciplinary frameworks.

Organised as a two-day academic deep dive followed by an exchange with practitioners, we aim for the workshop to both lead to a special issue in a reputed journal and serve an important networking function across disciplines and fields of practice.

Deadlines and submission of abstracts

We invite 250-word abstracts no later than the 6th of February 2023, specifying the empirical basis for the contribution. Accepted proposals will be notified by the 1st of March, and full, original draft papers are due by the 1st of May.

Please send your abstract to [email protected]. The workshop organisation covers lodging and consumption during the workshop. Contributions to travel costs are available, with a strong priority for junior participants and participants from the Global South.