Winner of 2022 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

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The Conflict Research Society congratulates Paul Staniland on winning the 2022 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize for his book titled Ordering Violence: Explaining Armed Group-State Relations from Conflict to Cooperation. This book examines how governments’ perception of the ideological threats posed by armed groups drive their responses and interactions. By bringing together governments, insurgents, militias, and armed political parties in a shared framework, Prof. Paul Staniland advances a broad approach to armed politics. The in-depth comprehensive overview of South Asia’s complex armed politics that the book provides speaks to scholars and policymakers seeking to understand why governments often use extreme repression against weak groups even while working with or tolerating more powerful armed actors.

The prize committee received over 40 nominations from conflict/peace researchers, institutions, practitioners, and publishers from around the world. The committee chose the winning title out of 4 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.

Judges on the CRS Book Prize committee praised Ordering Violence for the way it “helps to break free of fixed or rigid categories such as insurgents and militias.” The judges noted that “by concentrating on relations, Staniland gives us space for understanding different armed orders and how they work.” The judges also praised the unique dataset on state-group armed orders in India, Pakistan, Burma/Myanmar, and Sri Lanka compiled for this book, as well as the detailed case studies included in the book. The judges agreed that this is an excellent book that will shape the research agenda on armed politics beyond civil wars.

This winner was elected out of a total of four 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):

  • Autesserre, S., 2021. The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World. Oxford University Press.

  • Melin, M.M., 2021. The Building and Breaking of Peace: Corporate Activities in Civil War Prevention and Resolution. Oxford University Press.

  • Stewart, M.A., 2021. Governing for Revolution: Social Transformation in Civil War. Cambridge University Press.

Thank you also to the CRS Book Prize Judges – Janet Lewis, Isabel Phillips, Robert Nagel, Andrew Thomson, and Allard Duursma (facilitator).

The winner of this year’s CRS Book Prize, Paul Staniland will be invited to give a keynote talk to CRS members at the CRS annual conference.

Call for Papers: The CRS Annual Conference Returns in 2022

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Annual Conference 2022

7-9 September

The 2022 edition of the Conflict Research Society (CRS) Annual Conference will be a hybrid event held online and at Queen’s University Belfast! We are committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and diverse conference experience despite the uncertainty associated with the global pandemic. For this reason, day one of the conference (7 September) will be entirely virtual and days two and three (8-9 September) will be held in-person at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK). Holding a hybrid event will allow us to schedule virtual panels on day one that accommodate participants in various time zones, and we invite and particularly encourage potential participants from around the globe to apply to join us again for this year’s conference! We are also excited to plan a return to the in-person format for days two and three.

We welcome submissions that explore topics related to conflict initiation and cessation, political violence and its alternatives, peacebuilding, reconciliation and reparation.  Read the full call below


The winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2021 is… Valerie Sticher!

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The Conflict Research Society congratulates Valerie Sticher, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2021. Valerie successfully defended her dissertation at Leiden University in May this year. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.

Valerie’s winning article “Negotiating Peace with Your Enemy: The Problem of Costly Concessions” is published in the Journal of Global Security Studies and adds an additional explanation for why negotiated agreements to end civil wars are so hard to achieve even if the leaders of all sides would prefer to settle. To do that, Valerie modifies bargaining theory to account for an important insight from social psychology: Individuals and groups sometimes discount their own gains from an agreement if the gains to the out-group (concessions) are deemed too high. What Valerie shows here using formal modelling may not surprise adherents of either bargaining theory or socio-psychological peace research, yet bringing together insights from both these fields is creative, and immensely policy-relevant. Valerie illustrates the usefulness of her framework for the 2012–2016 peace negotiations between the government of Colombia and the FARC.

The CRS received 15 excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world. Special mention goes to the runner-up for the prize, Marc-Olivier Cantin from the University of Montreal, Canada. His article “Pathways to Violence in Civil Wars: Combatant Socialization and the Drivers of Participation in Civilian Targeting” is published in International Studies Review and presents an impressive and excellently written theory synthesis to explain why individual rebels (the rank and file) come to kill civilians in civil war, starting from the premise that such violence is not easy to carry out.