Current News

Winner of 2022 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

Posted by: Kit Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Current News

July
25

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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February
1

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


READ THE CALL

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

Posted by: Kit Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Current News

September
8

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.

Winner of 2021 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

Posted by: Kit Tags: There is no tags | Categories: Current News

June
30

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Janet I. Lewis on winning the 2021 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize for her book titled How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and Beyond published by Cambridge University Press (2020).

How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and Beyond examines how rebel groups form, and why only some incipient armed rebellions succeed in becoming viable challengers to governments.  How Insurgency Begins shows that rumours circulating in places where rebel groups form can influence civilians’ perceptions of both rebels and the state. By revealing the connections between villagers’ trusted network structures and local ethnic demography, Dr. Janet I. Lewis shows how ethnic networks facilitate the spread of rumours and information that favours rebel group development. This in-depth analysis of conflicts in Uganda and neighbouring states speaks to scholars and policymakers seeking to understand the motives and actions of those initiating armed rebellion, those witnessing the process in their community, and those trying to stop it.

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 7 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 How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and Beyond for the way it identifies and “takes apart” some “prominent prevailing assumptions in the existing literature on rebel group formation” and subsequently offers “new ways of thinking about the initial stages of rebellion”.  The judges highlighted the “painstaking” work done to provide “excellent methodological rigour” in compiling new datasets and triangulating this with years of in-depth field work. The judges agreed that this was an “excellently structured, engagingly written and brilliantly argued book.”

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

  • Medie, P.A., 2020. Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence Against Women in Africa. Oxford University Press 

  • Phillips, S.G., 2020. When There Was No Aid: War and Peace in Somaliland. Cornell University Press. 

  • Lacher, W., 2020. Libya’s Fragmentation: Structure and Process in Violent Conflict. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Schulz, P., 2020. Male Survivors of Wartime Sexual Violence, Perspectives from Northern Uganda. University of California Press.

  • Bove, V., Ruffa, C. and Ruggeri, A., 2020. Composing Peace: Mission Composition in UN Peacekeeping. Oxford University Press. 

  • Hultman, L. Jacob D. Kathman, and Megan Shannon, 2019. Peacekeeping in the Midst of War. Oxford University Press. 

Thank you also to the CRS Book Prize Judges – Pamina Firchow, Isabel Phillips, Govinda Clayton, Robert Nagel, and Andrew Thomson (facilitator).

The winner of this year’s CRS Book Prize, Janet I. Lewis will be invited to give a keynote talk to CRS members at the CRS annual conference, details TBC.

"Amazon fighting Greek Warriors" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Mad Maenad

Moral Restraint in War: Thinking About its History

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May
18

The Conflict Research Society and OxPeace will co-host a webinar with Professor Alexander Bellamy on Friday, 4 June at 12:30 BST.

What makes moral restraint in war possible? How have moral restraints been constructed and how – and why – have they changed over time? To what extent do such restraints actually restrain and what factors tend to shape this? This talk introduces a new project on the history of moral restraint in war. It starts from the premise that war and virtue stand in tension, that since wars must be fought, and won, it is not obvious or inevitable that soldiers and leaders would impose moral constraints on its conduct, constraints that might inhibit their capacity to win. The project takes a historical approach to the question, focusing not just on the ideas but on the practice of war as well. It begins – and this talk focuses on – the ancient Greeks, suggesting that the Greek world exhibited few constraints and identifying six central factors that might explain this. It is speculated that changes to the nature, content, and applicability of moral restraints can be traced to changes to these six factors beyond the Hellenistic period.



 


March
22

The Conflict Research Society (CRS) condemns the cuts in the Overseas Development and Aid budget which threaten efforts to tackle global poverty and responses to conflict in developing countries. We are concerned that these cuts will damage the valuable work underway by conflict researchers and practitioners, including NGOs working in areas of conflict.

The Foreign Secretary has announced that the new strategic framework for ODA will focus on seven global challenges. One of these includes ‘open societies and conflict resolution’, and another ‘science, research and technology’ including ‘research-led solutions’ on ‘conflict and poverty’.

Nevertheless, the planned cuts in the ODA budget from 0.7 to 0.5% of GDP threaten ODA-funded research, including existing research awards to CRS members, and will have detrimental effects on staff in UK universities, their partners in low and middle income countries and the beneficiaries of this research in violence-affected communities in the Global South. We are concerned that vital research on conflict and conflict resolution will be at risk.

The cuts also threaten the work of NGOs including practitioners who are CRS members working in the field of conflict response and conflict resolution, and their partners in areas of conflict. Important programmes that foster local capacity to prevent, mitigate and recover from conflict may be lost.

We urge the government to reconsider and restore the planned cuts.