Journal article

Brokering between (not so) overt and (not so) covert networks in conflict zones

Patrycja Stys, Judith Verweijen, Papy Muzuri, Samuel Muhindo, Christoph Vogel, Johan H Koskinen



There is a tendency to consider covert networks as separate from overt networks. Drawing on data from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we demonstrate that this is not the case and identify how covert and overt networks are mutually constitutive. While most studies of African brokers have relied on network metaphors like ‘Big Men’ and ‘social membranes’, we consider the embeddedness of ‘covert’ networks in ‘overt’ networks explicitly. We perform two analyses on a large original dataset encompassing 396 partially overlapping ego-nets obtained from a hybrid link-tracing design. An ego-net analysis reveals a large degree of homophily and a deep embeddedness of the different networks. A mult..

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Awarded by ESRC GCRF

Awarded by 'Collecting and analyzing secondary covert social network data' project - Leverhulme Trust

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the DFID-ESRC Poverty Alleviation Programme, PI Paul Nugent, Co-Is Zoe Marks and Jan Eichhorn of the University of Edinburgh. The research was also supported by, and is an output of the Political Settlement Research Programme(, funded by UK Aid from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the benefit of developing countries. However, the views expressed and information contained in it are not those of, or endorsed by DFID, which can accept no responsibility for such views or information or for any reliance placed on them. Drafting and analysis were supported by the Centre for Public Authority and International Development at LSE, ESRC GCRF grant number ES/P008038/1 (PI: Tim Allen), and the `Collecting and analyzing secondary covert social network data' (RPG-2013-140) project (PI: Martin Everett), funded by the Leverhulme Trust.