Conflict, Dispute Settlement and Peacebuilding

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Here are the research projects dealing with issues of Conflict, Dispute Settlement and Peacebuilding. You will also find the list of recent publications related to this cluster.


Aiding Resilience? The Impact of Foreign Assistance on the Dynamics of Intrastate Armed Conflict

Professor Ravi Bhavnani, funded by the US Department of Defense’s MINERVA Initiative. September 2014–2018.
This research addresses the link between security and development, in particular, whether foreign assistance affects resilience to intrastate armed conflict – and if so, where, when, and how? Its design constructively combines cross-national, sub-national and micro-level empirical analysis. The results will be integrated into simulations using computational modelling to further probe aid-conflict dynamics and “what-if” counterfactuals.
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Conflict Culture Research Network

Professor Ravi Bhavnani, with Brian Daniels, Paul Huth, David Backer and Marc-Andre Renold, funded by NSF for initial project implementation. January 2016–December 2020.
Why is cultural heritage targeted in conflict? Despite the significant research efforts that study the causes of war and violations of civil and political rights, the question has been given little consideration – hence the reason for this project.
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Garrison State Project

Professor David Sylvan, funded by SNSF. August 2015–July 2018. 
In democracies, why are debates among political elites far more consensual on national security issues than on other subjects? What is the significance of the fact that, precisely in democracies, state bureaucracies concerned with security issues have continued to grow in size and in scope? And what are the potential risks of these phenomena for democracy itself? Such are some of the questions addressed in this research project.
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The Gender Dimensions of Social Conflicts, Armed Violence and Peacebuilding

Professor Elisabeth Prügl, Christelle Rigual, Rahel Kunz, Wening Udasmoro, Arifah Rahmawati, Joy Onyesoh and Mimidoo Achakpa, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) within their joint Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d Programme). February 2014–January 2020.
Quantitative research has demonstrated a strong correlation between levels of gender inequality and violent conflict, suggesting that women’s subordination and vulnerability is a significant predictor of armed violence. The project combines approaches from gender studies and conflict research to unravel the mechanisms that produce this correlation.
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Improving the Protection of Persons with Disabilities during Armed Conflict

Professor Andrew Clapham, funded by SNIS. September 2016–August 2018.
Undertaken in partnership with Handicap International, the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, this project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance to persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.
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Modelling Early Risk Indicators to Anticipate Malnutrition (MERIAM)

Professor Ravi Bhavnani, with Shannon Doocy and David Backer, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kindgom. February 2017–January 2020.
This project aims  to identify, test and scale up cost-effective means to improve the prediction and monitoring of undernutrition in difficult contexts, in such a way that it enables an effective response to manage and mitigate nutritional risk.
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Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts: From Norms to Practices

Hannah Dönges (CCDP), funded by SNSF. March 2015–August 2017.
The norm that civilians should not be targeted during war is not new but it has gained new momentum since the explicit inclusion of the principle of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (POC), traditionally a “humanitarian” task, in the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations in 1999. Civil-military cooperation is now often presented as a necessary tool to ensure the “sustainability” of peace, and the failure to protect civilians is often equated with “mission failure”. This project aims at analysing how POC is understood by protection actors and then put into different practices from mandate formulation over operationalisation to implementation on the ground. 
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Reassessing the End of the Cold War: Western Interventionism in the “Arc of Crisis” and Africa, from the Mid-1970s to the Early 1990s

Professor Jussi Hanhimäki, funded by SNSF. October 2013–September 2017.
The dominant historiography of the last decades of the Cold War has depicted the 1970s as a period of Western decline and retreat. In contrast, the 1980s witnessed the "reaction” of the West that ultimately led to the crumbling of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the post–Cold War era of Western primacy. This research project aims to challenge these views.
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Transparency: Qualities and Technologies of Global Gemstone Trading

Assistant Professor Filipe Calvão, with Lindsay Bell (State University of New York, Oswego) and Brian Brazeal (California State University, Chico), funded by SNSF and hosted at the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding in collaboration with the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. September 2017–August 2020.
This project aims to interrogate the construction and public perception of transparency by examining the recent efforts of the extractive industry toward transparency and the growing demand for “ethical” gemstones. 
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Violence Prevention (VIPRE) Initiative

Professor Keith Krause with Professor Riccardo Bocco, Professor Anna Leander and Jonathan Luke Austin, funded by SNSF (Sinergia). April 2017–March 2021.
This project explores novel approaches to preventing state-led political violence. It suggests that it is possible to prevent political violence in a similar way to that by which we prevent, or minimise the damage caused by, public health problems like traffic accidents or smoking. Efforts to prevent these problems focus on reducing or mitigating risk in an indirect or “non-causal” fashion. The VIPRE Initiative investigates the possibility of constructing similar indirect modes of prevention vis-à-vis political violence by drawing on interdisciplinary insights from organisation studies, the micro-sociological study of violence and International Political Sociology.
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