Current News

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

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

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.

Call for Papers: The CRS Virtual Annual Conference 2021

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

March
17

Submissions are invited that explore topics related to conflict initiation, political violence, polarization, peacebuilding, and reconciliation. As always, we welcome a breadth of methods and methodological approaches.

The CRS conference features a range of participants, papers, and invited keynote speeches from both practitioners and academics based around the globe. To ensure we maintain our open international format, we intend to schedule panels at times that accommodate different time zones.

The conference will feature keynote talks, including from the winner of the CRS Book Prize. Previous book prize winners have included Pamina Firchow, Christine Cheng, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, John Paul Lederach, and Kristin Bakke, see the full list here.

Please submit your proposals online by 29 March 2021. Panel proposals should include a title, abstract (less than 200 words), and a list of four papers. Individual paper proposals should likewise include a title and abstract.

This year the CRS is continuing with the workshop format as part of the CRS Virtual Annual Conference. The CRS will provide virtual rooms that can be used for either a half or a full day workshop. The workshops will provide scholars and practitioners with the space to learn, exchange ideas, and form collaborations. Find out more about these sessions here.

To apply for a workshop, you will need a workshop abstract (200 words) and an indicative list of participants. 

If you have any questions please email the conference organisers, Robert Nagel and Marina G. Petrova, crsconf@gmail.com.


READ THE CALL

October
6

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Sebastian van Baalen, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2020. Sebastian is a doctoral candidate in his last year at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.

Sebastian’s winning article “Guns and governance: Local elites, civil resistance, and the responsiveness of rebel governance in Côte d’Ivoire” addresses an intriguing question about rebel governance, namely why some rebels solicit and act upon civilian preferences much more than others. The paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Peace Research. Sebastian demonstrates that local elites’ clientelist networks fundamentally influence rebels’ responsiveness to civilians in the areas they govern. The jury was impressed both by the novel theoretical argument and the combination of existing survey data with unique interview and archival data collected during eight months of fieldwork in Côte d’Ivoire. Overall, this research emphasizes the importance of civilian agency and civil resistance in improving rebel governance and civilian protection.

The CRS received 23 excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world (this was the first year the prize was open to PhD students outside the UK and RoI). The winner was selected by an international jury consisting of Prof. Hugh Miall (University of Kent), Dr. Anne-Kathrin Kreft (University of Gothenburg), Dr. Luke Abbs (University of Essex, former prize winner), and Dr. Corinne Bara (Uppsala University, Chair of the Jury).

Winner of the 2020 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

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

May
26

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Pamina Firchow on winning the 2020 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize for her book titled Reclaiming Everyday peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation After War published by Cambridge University Press (2018).


Reclaiming Everyday Peace addresses the effectiveness and impact of local level interventions on communities affected by war. Using an innovative methodology to generate participatory numbers, Pamina Firchow finds that communities saturated with external interventions after war do not have substantive higher levels of peacefulness according to community-defined indicators of peace than those with lower levels of interventions. These findings suggest that current international peacebuilding efforts are not very effective at achieving peace by local standards because disproportionate attention is paid to reconstruction, governance and development assistance with little attention paid to community ties and healing. Firchow argues that a more bottom up approach to measuring the effectiveness of peacebuilding is required. By finding ways to effectively communicate local community needs and priorities to the international community, efforts to create an atmosphere for an enduring peace are possible.

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 6 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 Prize Committee praised Reclaiming Everyday Peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation After War for its “elegant and simple solution” to the complex problems associated with evaluating everyday peace. The judges highlighted that “this book offers a deep, nuanced treatment of peace as concept, and as lived experience”.  It offered a very “creative and systematic approach” with extensive fieldwork and “methodological innovation”, incorporating consideration of “players in different levels of peacebuilding efforts”. The judges also praised this book for its “radical” policy relevance: “If we accept what Firchow is saying, then the implication is that the existing ‘liberal’ peacebuilding paradigm needs to be flipped inside-out.

This title was elected out of a total of six finalists. 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):

Campbell, Susana 2019. Global Governance and Local Peace: Accountability and Performance in International Peacebuilding. Cambridge University Press.

Abdi, D.I. and Mason, S.J., 2019. Mediation and Governance in Fragile Contexts: Small Steps to Peace. Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Caplan, R., 2019. Measuring Peace: Principles, Practices, and Politics. Oxford University Press

Mironova, V., 2019. From Freedom Fighters to Jihadists: Human Resources of Non-State Armed Groups. Oxford University Press. 

Weidmann, N.B. and Rød, E.G., 2019. The Internet and political protest in autocracies. Oxford University Press. 

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

Due to Covid-19, this year’s CRS conference has been postponed until 26th and 27th of August, 2021. 

The winner of this year’s CRS Book Prize, Pamina Firchow, provided a keynote talk to CRS members on a CRS online event on 24th September. Watch the talk below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9b41hIzEyg&t=1s

HOW DO I 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 timeframe window by emailing Andrew Thomson a.f.thomson@qub.ac.uk