Imrana Alhaji Buba wins the Cedric Smith Prize 2024

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March
20

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Imrana Alhaji Buba, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2024. Imrana is a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway. His research is situated at the intersection of social resilience, civilian agency, and the prevention of violence. Before starting his PhD, Imrana worked for a decade as a community development and conflict sensitivity specialist in Nigeria. He also founded the Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, a volunteer-based organization in northern Nigeria that seeks to prevent violent extremism through peace education programs. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.

Imrana’s winning article, “Civilian Protection Payment and the Escalation of Violence against Civilians in Northwestern Nigeria,” published in Global Studies Quarterly, explores the unintended effects of protection payments as a self-protection strategy for communities in northwestern Nigeria and beyond. He argues that communities that pay levies to militia for protection only achieve temporary safety because protection payments transform into acquiescence or resistance, making the community less safe over time. The author’s commendable fieldwork in Nigeria allowed for the inductive development of these novel theroetical expectations.

Imrana’s article fills a clear gap in academic research on civilian strategies to protect themselves. Given the lack of evidence on northwestern Nigeria, the research has important implications for policy and practice. It highlights the need to understand the challenges faced by communities in conflict zones and to evaluate the effectiveness of various strategies to alleviate these pressures. The research suggests that civilians’ choices play a pivotal role in conflict dynamics, opening up a poetntially fruitful avenue for future exploration.

The CRS received eleven excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world. Special mention goes to the following two authors who were shortlisted for the prize: Tessa Devereaux Evans for “To Have and to Hold: The Determinants of Insurgent Gender Governance,” and Kiran Stallone for “Love in war? The strategic use of intimacy in armed conflict” (see here).

 

The 2024 CRS conference call for papers is live!

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November
30

The Conflict Research Society (CRS) invites submissions that explore topics related to global and domestic fragmentation, the initiation and cessation of conflict, contentious politics, diplomacy, peace processes, and geopolitical transitions.

We have some exciting news:

  • The conference is hosted in partnership with PeaceRep: The Peace and Conflict Resolution Evidence Platform based at the University of Edinburgh Law School;

  • After the resounding success of last year’s workshops, we will be hosting the format again;

  • The organizing committee is very excited to invite applications for a limited number of PeaceRep ODA Scholarships for selected presenters from ODA recipient countries.

Read the full call for papers here.

Remember to submit your proposals online by 20 January 2024!


READ THE CALL

Conflict Mediation in the Arab World

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October
26

Fraihat and Svensson present the first comprehensive approach to mediation in the Arab world, taking on cases from Yemen to Sudan, from Qatar to Palestine, Syria, and beyond.

Conflict Mediation in the Arab World focuses on mediation at three different levels of analysis: between countries, between governments and armed actors inside single countries, and between different communities. In applying this holistic method, the editors identify similarities and differences in the conditions for conflict resolution and management.

Drawing upon the work of experts in the field with a deep understanding of the increasing complexities and changing dynamics of the region, this volume offers a valuable resource for academics, policy makers, and practitioners interested in conflict resolution and management in the Middle East and North Africa.

Ibrahim Fraihat is associate professor in international conflict resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. He previously served as Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institution and has taught international conflict resolution at Georgetown University and George Washington University. He is the author of Iran and Saudi Arabia: Taming a Chaotic Conflict.

Isak Svensson is professor at the department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden. Svensson is the author of numerous books, including International Mediation Bias and Peacemaking: Taking Sides in Civil Wars.

Noyonika Das receives the 2023 Sydney Bailey Fund

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October
11

Noyonika Das is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. She holds a Master’s degree in Society and Culture and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Noyonika is also a PhD fellow at the Elections, Violence, Parties Project (EVaP). The EVaP project presents new theory and evidence on the nature, organization, and consequences of electoral violence. In the project, Noyonika is investigating why and how incumbents use violence to manipulate local elections. Her main research interests are the dynamics of political violence and its implications on subnational authoritarianism and democratic backsliding.

Noyonika’s doctoral dissertation develops a novel argument to explain why political parties engage in the violent subversion of local elections. The dissertation argues that local offices are important for consolidating partisan foundations and for establishing party dominance. In contexts where state-building is uneven and access to resources is scarce, local elections often witness fierce clashes between political groups who are vying for access to state power. A multi-method approach helps to unpack the spatial logic of election related violence and its implications for establishing partisan control at the local level. Using the Eastern Indian state of West Bengal as a primary empirical case, the thesis finds that the state incumbent party uses violence to consolidate and expand its electoral control. Violence is a joint collaboration between actors at different levels of governance; i.e., between the state incumbent party and local party workers or local elites. The dissertation outlines the logic of violence in local elections; this logic holds important insights on how violence can be used to undermine challenges to power from below, thereby further entrench the state incumbent. The findings have important implications for research on decentralization and subnational authoritarianism.

Noyonika will use the Sydney Bailey Fund to test the aggregate implications of violence in local elections. This analysis will involve collecting qualitative and quantitative data of the elections which followed the violent local election of 2018. Data on an additional election year will reveal the temporal implications of violence in local elections and whether coercive strategies of electoral control pay off in the long-run.

Sigrid Weber wins the Cedric Smith Prize 2023

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June
13

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Sigrid Weber, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2023. Sigrid has recently completed her PhD at the Department of Political Science at University College London (UCL) and will shortly start as a postdoc at the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford University. Her research is situated at the intersection of conflict studies and forced migration. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.

Sigrid’s winning article “Controlling a Moving World: Territorial Control, Displacement and the Spread of Civilian Targeting in Iraq” examines how armed actors respond to population movements during civil wars. She argues that displacement alters local balances of control between territorial rules and challengers, who respond with distinct forms of violence to incoming supporters from opposing loyalty groups. To test her theory, she creates a novel monthly dataset of territorial control, one-sided violence against moving populations, and displacement patterns in the Iraqi civil war against the Islamic State, using a combination of manual coding and machine learning. Her findings show how civilian targeting by territorial challengers and rulers(re-)emerges in displacement destinations. Understanding these dynamics enhances our comprehension of violence in civil wars and can inform policy and practice concerning violence against displaced populations in conflict zones.

Sigrid’s article extends previous theories of civilian victimization and territorial control by conceptualizing local populations as a dynamic element that changes incentives for armed actors to govern with violence. The Cedric Smith Prize committee was impressed by the way in which Sigrid’s research combines novel theoretical insights with a carefully chosen and meticulously executed methodological and empirical approach.

The CRS received 22 excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world. Special mention goes to the following three authors who were shortlisted for the prize: Melanie Sauter for “Politicized Health Emergencies and Violent Resistance against Healthcare Responders” (see here), Andres D. Uribe for “Coercion and Capture in Democratic Politics”, and Sean Paul Ashley for “Born Strong: Wartime Institutions and the Durability of Rebel Regimes.”

Call for Papers: The CRS Annual Conference 2023

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November
16

Annual Conference 2023

11-13 September

We are excited to announce the call of papers for our 2023 annual conference. In September 2023, we will celebrate the Conflict Research Society’s 60-year anniversary at King’s College London.

We welcome submissions that explore topics related to conflict initiation and cessation, political violence and its alternatives, peacebuilding, reconciliation and reparation.  Read the call and submit your proposals by 15 January 2023.