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Research Projects


The Cultural Heritage of Conflict 

Principal Investigators: Prof Annika Björkdahl (Lund University), Dr Stefanie Kappler (DGSi) and Dr Johanna Mannergren Selimovic (Swedish Institute of International Affairs) 

Funding Body: The Swedish Research Council (4,8 Mkr) 

Duration: January 2017 to December 2019 

Violence leaves a tangible and intangible legacy and societies emerging from war and conflict have to deal with a difficult heritage.  

The project investigates what role such difficult cultural heritage of conflict plays in transitions to peace. It explores and theorizes the links between tangible cultural heritage of material sites and things and intangible cultural heritage. The project does so by employing a conceptual framework that takes into consideration how sites and things that constitute the legacy of the conflict produce ‘social ensembles’ of agents, narratives and events. 

'The Cultural Heritage of Conflict' Project Page 


Peace and the Politics of Memory 

Principal Investigators:Dr Stefanie Kappler  (DGSi), Dr Johanna Mannergren Selimovic (Swedish Institute of International Affairs) 

Funding Body:The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (5,5 Million SEK) 

Duration: January 2017 to December 2019 

In societies emerging from violent conflict, victims, perpetrators and bystanders often live side by side, harbouring conflicting memories and experiences of violence. One of the most pressing questions concerns how the difficult past can be remembered without threatening the fragile peace of the present and future. This project investigates if and how commemoration impacts on the quality of peace, and aims to explain why commemoration may contribute to the making of a durable peace or the perpetuation of conflict. 

The project addresses the lack of detailed investigations into the fluid and frictional construction of commemoration in societies transitioning from war to peace, and thus makes an original contribution to the literatures of transitional justice and peacebuilding. Further, the project provides policy-relevant insights into how commemoration can function in support of peacebuilding. 

'Peace and the Politics of Memory' Project Page 


Security on the Move 

Principal Investigator:  Professor Jutta Bakonyi

Funding Body: UKRI

Duration:  October 2017 to April 2019

Everyday security of IDPs in rapidly growing Somali cities

This project approaches the nexus of poverty, environmental sustainability, and conflict/fragility with a security approach. It conceptualises security as irreducible to military threats, encompassing also environmental, economic, social, and political factors.

An actor-oriented focus guides the methodological concern with security of the everyday, emphasising the subjective experiences, perceptions and practices of internally displaced people (IDPs) across four cities in Somalia. With this approach, the overall objective is to give priority to the vulnerable people's own understanding of constraints and opportunities in regard to everyday security.

A key task of this research project is to reflect with IDPs about their experiences of security on the move, the trajectory of their flight, the settling in to the city and the security arrangements on which they have relied. This is done through the collection and analysis of two types of data, interviews and photographs (photo-voice).

Security on the move website.


Peacekeepers as Soliders and Humanitarians:

The Impact of Contradictory Roles and Responsibilities on The Protection Mandate of Peacekeepers

Principal Investigator:  

  • Jutta Bakonyi (Durham University)
  • Co-Investigators/Staff: Anne Flaspoler and Janosch Kullenberg (Durham University).
  • Geoffrey Lugano (Kenyatta University)


  • South West Livestock Professional Association (Somalia)
  • Cercle National de Réflexion sur la Jeunesse (DRC)

Funding BodyAHRC/FCDO

Duration:  August 2020 to July 2022

The protection of civilians in areas of violent conflicts and wars is among the main tasks of military peacekeeping. Peacekeepers are, however, often required to straddle military, diplomatic and humanitarian roles: They fight violent actors who are often not easily distinguishable from civilians, patrol roads and convoy humanitarian deliveries, while they are simultaneously requested to develop relations with communities affected by violence, to mediate conflicts and often also to provide humanitarian goods.

The research project explores how military peacekeepers are experiencing their protection mandate and how they navigate their complex responsibilities. The project then compares and contrasts these experiences with those of civilians and humanitarian actors who are on the receiver side of peacekeeper’s protection mandate. We use biographic and narrative interviews to capture experiences, but also work with ‘mapping voice’ to look into spatial arrangements of protection practices. This will provide an in-depth and differentiated account of protection mandate and practices of peacekeepers taking account of organisational and operational differences of AU and UN missions.

The findings of the research will be shared in round tables with peacekeepers, humanitarian actors and civilians. Beyond receiving feed-back, the round tables aim at stimulating dialogue between the three actor groups. The experiences of the providers and recipients of protection will also feed into a peacekeeping training module which will be developed in cooperation with the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Nairobi.