Current News

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

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.

August
26

The Conflict Research Society congratulates Gabriella Levy, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2022. Gabriella is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Duke University and a 2022-23 USIP Peace Scholar Fellow. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.

Gabriella’s winning article “Evaluations of Violence at the Polls: Civilian Victimization and Support for Perpetrators after War” is published in the Journal of Politics and examines how ordinary citizens in a post-conflict context evaluate alleged perpetrators of violence against civilians who are running for office. Drawing on the theory of dyadic morality, the author builds a framework to explain how citizens appraise specific candidate traits and behavior. She tests hypotheses derived from the framework through a conjoint survey in Colombia, showing how attributes associated with integrity affect respondent preferences. Her findings indicate that voters are highly attentive to the ethics of civilian victimization but do not see all violence as equally unethical. Understanding these dynamics is important for building a durable peace in post-conflict contexts. Among the attributes that made the article stand out, the Cedric Smith Prize committee highlighted the article’s important theoretical contribution, the sophisticated research design and careful attention to causal inference.

The CRS received 18 excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world. Special mention goes to the following three authors who were shortlisted for the prize: Emmy Lindstam for “Aspirations for National Belonging and Preferences among Marginalized Groups”, Liana Eustacia Reyes for “Rebel and Incumbent Law: How Compatible Legal Preferences Prolong Peace after Power-Sharing”, and Jamie L. Shenk for “Does conflict experience affect participatory democracy after war? Evidence from Colombia”.

Winner of 2022 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

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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.