Project period: September 2015 – January 2016
GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Dr Oliver Walton, Dr Althea Rivas
University of Bristol: Dr Ryerson Christie
Cardiff University: Dr Elisa Wynne-Hughes
University of Exeter: Dr John Heathershaw
This project responds to evolving global challenges relating to insecurity, inequality and shifting global power relations. Peacebuilding is becoming increasingly central to global development policy, as demonstrated by its inclusion on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
The character of conflict has changed considerably over recent years. Key trends include the growing role played by rising powers in the field of conflict management and resolution; a shift in western responses to conflict, involving the privileging community resilience over western responsibility; and changes in how conflicts are represented to western publics via the media.
International development agencies are recognising this changing landscape but at the same time are operating at an increasing distance from local communities.
Mainstream approaches for responding to conflict have been heavily critiqued, leading to prominent calls for ‘hybrid’ approaches to peacebuilding seen to be more reflective of the concerns and interests of local actors. While this hybrid focus is welcome, the existing literature has continued to frame local and international approaches in opposition to each other and the general failure to satisfactorily conceptualise and theorise peace and peacebuilding from the bottom up remains a key gap.
Inter-disciplinary analysis is required to better understand the realities of peace and conflict in these dynamic environments, and the ways in which international narratives and conceptualisations of conflict interact with local dynamics and power relations.
The collaboration has five outcome objectives:
- Identify key areas for research development and comparative advantage of the GW4 institutions in the area of peacebuilding, conflict and development.
- Support a joint funding application to the AHRC/ESRC Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research under the Conflict Theme call.
- Explore possible South-West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) collaboration.
- Identify the administrative, financial and intellectual resources needed for further GW4-wide projects in this area.
- Identify projects or publications, and possible funding bodies for sub-themes to take forward.