CRS | The Conflict Research Society Book Of The Year

Book Of The Year

The CRS Book of the Year Prize honours research that is contemporary, exceptional and world leading, and which provides an invaluable contribution to the literature on conflict and peace studies, very broadly defined.  It is an annual prize selected from nominations made by leading authorities around the world in the areas of conflict and/or peace studies.

 

How to Nominate a Book for the CRS Book Prize

The annual book prize nomination period opens each year in October. A call for nominations is sent out in October via email to all CRS members, the board, as well as a variety of leading scholars and institutions from around the world. The deadline for making nominations is the last day in November.  Winners are normally selected by end of January.  However, you can make nominations outside of the nomination time-frame window by emailing Allard Duursma (allard.duursma@sipo.gess.ethz.ch).

 

Winner of 2024 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Peer Schouten on winning the 2024 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize for his book titled Roadblock Politics: the origins of violence in Central Africa. Based on research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), Peer Schouten maps more than a thousand of these roadblocks to show how communities, rebels, and state security forces forge resistance and power out of control over these narrow points of passage. In doing so, he develops a new lens through which to understand what drives state formation and conflict in the region, offering a radical alternative to explanations that foreground control over minerals, territory, or population as key drivers of Central Africa’s violent history.

The prize committee received over 50 nominations from conflict/peace researchers, institutions, practitioners, and publishers from around the world. The committee chose the winning title out of four short-listed books based on criteria such as how well the book demonstrates a significant contribution to conflict/peace studies, impact factor, methodological rigour, robustness, and credibility of the findings, the extent to which it is interdisciplinary, quality of writing, and presentation.

The jury was impressed with the way that Schouten unpacks the motif of the roadblock to explain much broader patterns of conflict and state building in Central Africa. According to one of the jury members: “Schouten takes a seemingly niche phenomenon and shows that it is absolutely not niche, but central in the production and renegotiation of power in countries where the administrative state is not strong.” The jury agreed that the fieldwork on which Schouten draws is outstanding, and illustrates his deep knowledge of the territories in which he works. He compellingly weaves in historical legacies with contemporary patterns of violence and competition for power, bridging conflict studies, development studies, and political economy. A well-written text, Shouten develops theories of power – based in roadblock politics – that travel well to other contexts and challenge conventional thinking about what we should focus our attention on in contexts of violence. Congratulations on an interesting book that shows us how something as simple as ’the roadblock’ has much broader implications for our understanding of violence, authority, and power, and how they manifest in unexpected ways.

This winner was elected out of a total of three finalists in the shortlist. These were excellent contenders for the prize and the judges also praised the excellent quality of research in all of the shortlisted books. Our congratulations are extended to the following running up shortlisted titles (in no particular order):

  • Maria Sosnowski. Redefining Ceasefires: Wartime Order and Statebuilding in Syria. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jason Stearns. The War that doesn’t say its Name: The Unending Conflict in the Congo. Princeton University Press.

Thank you also to the CRS Book Prize Judges – Julia Zulver, Isabel Phillips, Robert Nagel, Luke Abbs, Corinne Bara, and Allard Duursma (facilitator).

Previous Prize Winners

2023
Julia Zulver (2022) High-Risk Feminism in Colombia: Women’s Mobilization in Violent Contexts. Rutgers University Press.

2022
Paul 
Staniland (2021) Ordering violence: Explaining armed group-state relations from conflict to cooperation. Cornell University Press.

2021
Janet I. Lewis (2020) How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and BeyondCambridge University Press.

2020

Pamina Firchow (2018) Everyday peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation After WarCambridge University Press.

2019
Christine Cheng (2018) Extralegal Groups in Post-Conflict Liberia: How Trade Makes the State. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2018
Ana Arjona (2016) RebelocracySocial Order in the Colombian Civil War. Cambridge University Press.

2017
Sabrina Karim and Kyle Beardsley (2017) Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace and Security in Post-Conflict States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2016
Kristin Bakke (2015) Decentralization and Intrastate Struggles: Chechnya, Punjab, and Québec. Cambridge University Press.

2015
Kathleen G. Cunningham (2014). Inside the Politics of Self-Determination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2014
Kevin Avruch (2012) Context and Pretext in Conflict Resolution: Conflict, Identity, Power and Practice. Boulder CO: Paradigm Publishers.
and
Lars-Erik Cederman, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and Halvard Buhaug (2013) Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War. Cambridge University Press.

2013
Steven Pinker (2011) The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes. New York: Penguin Books.

and
Joshua Goldstein (2012) Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide. New York: Penguin Books.

2012
John Paul Lederach and Angie Lederach (2010) When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2011
Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse and Hugh Miall (2011) Contemporary Conflict Resolution. Cambridge: Polity Press.

2010
Nigel Young and co-editors (2010) The Oxford International Encyclopaedia for Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press.