Peace and Conflict

Saving humanity ‘from the scourge of war’ has been the central aim of the international institutional framework created in the aftermath of the Second World War. While the absence of direct conflict between the major military and economic powers has led some to claim the success of this arrangement, the growth of internal conflicts within the world’s poorest areas suggests the very limited success of these endeavours.

Laudable efforts by international organizations and aid agencies are limited by overly simplistic understandings of both the problem and the solution. Understanding conflict as simply as destructive events or ‘development in reverse’ (in the words of World Bank economist Paul Collier) predetermines solutions which aim to fix ‘dysfunctional’ societies through the promotion and application of standardized models of democracy and market economy.

Conflicts, however, are not just chaos and destruction. They are also sites where institutions are created or reconfigured and events through which legitimacy is renegotiated. They create opportunities for new, sometimes black, markets to be strengthened or created and set limits to the exercise of global liberal governance.  

Researchers contributing to the Peace and Conflict theme are committed to understand the complex social, historical and political dynamics of conflict and international peace-making. Our research looks to move beyond simplistic ‘problem solving’ approaches and understand conflict and peace-making as multi-dimensional political and social processes which demands empirically rigorous, multidisciplinary research to comprehend and address. 

Researchers in this area have considered:

  • Resistance to international intervention in conflict affected countries
  • The consequences of military victory on post conflict reconstruction
  • The consequences of rebel governance on post conflict peace
  • Critical reassessments of political violence
  • Histories of neutrality non-alignment and pacifism

Thematic lead: Dr Giulia Piccolino