Winner of 2022 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize

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.

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