Contextualising Conflict: State, Society and the Politics of Security and Identity
Seminars are usually held on Thursday at 17:00 in Birley Room, Hatfield College, but you should check the seminar details for exceptions. Contact email@example.com for more information about this seminar series.
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About the Research Stream
While research on the relationship between conflict and wider structural factors, such as economic development, geography or ethnic diversity, is well-developed, the micro-dynamics of conflict and how these are affected by state behaviour, political structures, social movements, societal customs, and identity politics are far less understood.
This stream brings together research which probes the micro-dynamics of conflict and their interplay with wider macro factors. It combines research on conflict and insurgency more broadly with research on terrorism and counter-terrorism regimes, the interaction between the two, and their impact on state and society. Drawing on ethnography, sociology, social movement theory and archaeology, key research questions include:
State Structures, Counter-Insurgency/Counter-Terrorism Practices:
- How do counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism practices (e.g. targeted assassinations, counterradicalisation programmes) affect insurgents and the society they form part of?
- What role do political exclusion, repression, criminalisation and surveillance play in insurgency dynamics? How does political inclusion or decriminalisation affect these?
In what ways do 'failed' and 'failing' states fuel conflict and insurgencies?
Society, Indigenous Power Structures, Social Movements:
- How do insurgents and counter-insurgency practices impact society? How do social movements affect insurgents and vice versa?
- How are movement and insurgency dynamics affected by socio-economic changes, changing gender roles, state practices, security regimes, globalisation, transnational migration?
- What challenges do non-state actors pose to traditional diplomacy and conflict resolution structures?
What role to tribal hierarchies and codes of honour play in conflict dynamics?
Culture, Religion, Ethnicity, History, Identity:
- Under what conditions do religious or ethnic identities/beliefs become mobilised in the service of violence or conflict resolution? How are historical sites & symbols mobilised?
- How are these dynamics affected by socio-economic changes, changing gender relations, state practices, security regimes, globalisation, diasporas?
- What role do indigenous forms of social organisation play in conflict and peace-making and how can cross-cultural communication be enhanced?
Areas of expertise in this research stream include:
- Hamas and Hizballah in the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon (Dr Jeroen Gunning)
- Islamist movements in Arab states, Malaysia and Indonesia (Prof James Piscatori)
- Religion, politics and identity in Brazil, Argentina, the UK and the USA (Dr Joanildo Burity)
- Patron-client models in Pakistan; Pakistan and its Diaspora (Dr Stephen Lyon)
- History, archaeology and nationalism, with special reference to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (Prof Robin Coningham)
- Evolution of conflict and peacemaking practices, with special reference to Yugoslavia, Chad, Somalia and Indonesia (Prof Robert Layton)
- The interplay between ethnic politics and the Peoples War in Nepal; environmental protection as a form of population control over minority peoples (Dr Ben Campbell)
- Security paradigms and practices in the UK and the US (Dr Angharad Closs Stephens)
Keywords: insurgent society, terrorism, social movements, state practices, counter-insurgency, (counter)-radicalisation, inequality, tribal politics, honour codes, religion, culture, identity.
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