2018 Cedric Smith Prize Winners

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Philipp Schulz and Margherita Belgioioso, winners of the Cedric Smith Prize 2018. Philipp received his PhD from Ulster University in December 2017 and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bremen in Germany. Margherita received her PhD from the University of Essex in March 2018 and is currently a Lecturer in International Relations at Brunel University London.

The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best research paper in peace and conflict research by a UK or ROI based PhD student. This year, the CRS decided to honour the exceptionally high quality of submissions by awarding two prizes.

Belgioioso’s winning article “Going Underground: Resort to Terrorism in Mass Mobilization Dissident Campaigns” is published in the Journal of Peace Research. While most previous research studies the use of terrorist tactics in civil wars and (previously nonviolent) mass civil resistance movements separately, Margherita Belgioioso bridges this division and finds that groups involved in either face similar organizational pressures, which encourage the initiation of terrorism due to higher tactical effectiveness. Specifically, leaders of organizations that participate in mass dissident campaigns decide to initiate terrorist campaigns with the aim of preserving the commitment of their followers and as a strategy of outbidding. The jury was particularly impressed by the sophisticated and creative theorizing in this piece: Belgioioso draws on and integrates scholarship on social movements, civil wars, and terrorism. The article also stands out for the clarity of argument and the rigorous empirical analysis. In addition, the author offers a new dataset on terrorism occurrence in 189 mass dissident campaigns between 1948 and 2006, which in itself is a contribution to the academic community and permits further research on this topic. In terms of policy implications, Margherita’s work offers us important information on the conditions under which we should expect more terrorist attacks by groups involved in mass dissident campaigns.

Schulz’ winning article “Displacement from Gendered Personhood – Sexual Violence andMasculinities in Northern Uganda” is published in International Affairs. While most existing studies on the topic treat the effects of sexual violence as linked to one-off events, Philipp Schulz builds on seven months of fieldwork in northern Uganda to show how the impact of sexual violence is a process that is compounded over time and strikes at multiple levels of what it means to be a man. The contribution of this research goes beyond the scholarship on wartime sexual violence against men: By critically challenging the dominant terminologies in his field, Philipp is able to offer a lens that can help us understand the impact of sexual violence on male, female and gender non-confirming survivors. The jury was very impressed by the reflective, ethical and conscientious way this research was conducted in a very challenging setting, as well as the careful treatment of concepts and nuanced argument. For policy and practice, the findings of this study offer some hope: Acknowledging that the aftermath of experiencing sexual violence plays out in the long term also acknowledges that effects on gendered identity are potentially temporal and can possibly be alleviated. By amplifying the seldom-heard voices of male survivors, the paper contributes to an understanding of how they could be assisted in this process.

The CRS received 12 excellent submissions for the prize, and the winner was selected by an international jury consisting of Hugh Miall (University of Kent), Enzo Nussio (ETH Zurich), Johanna Söderström (Uppsala University), and Corinne Bara (Uppsala University, Chair of the Jury).

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