In other words, order is the purpose of society. Disorder is therefore always a failure of society or otherwise undesirable, and the purpose of social mechanisms is to contain and process conflict. These equations whereby order = good and disorder = bad, have often been taken to be key elements of what Geertz critically called the “consensus gentium” (nuggets of cultural universals)[ii]. But there is good reason to question whether the values embedded in those equations are indeed universal/neutral.

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This paper examines how contests over military control were played out during peace negotiations and in the implementation of agreements (including the manipulation or violation of the terms of agreements) in Sudan between 2002 and 2011. The cases examined are the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, the Darfur peace talks which took place from 2003 to 2011, and the post-referendum arrangements talks of 2011. The central arguments presented are as follows: the principal political players consistently sought control over the military as a main component of their political strategies; senior military officers posed a threat to the power of nominally civilian leaders; security arrangements were determined by a combination of the leaders’ calculations over their internal power base along with their expectations of ongoing or anticipated armed conflicts; and external programmes and policies for security sector reform were manipulated and instrumentalised in pursuit of these power goals

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In this fascinating, occasionally frustrating, book,  Rosa Brooks examines the blurring of the boundaries between war and peace that has evolved over the past 25 years, especially, though not entirely, as a result of 9/11. Bringing to bear a rather unusual combination of perspectives—daughter of peacenik activists, international law professor, former DOD staffer, and special […]

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Can conflict sensitive interviewing practices help promote world peace? The connection might not be immediately clear, but as Roxanne Krystalli of the Feinstein International Center argues, a conflict sensitive approach can help close the loop between research, policy, and practice.

Even in the most academic pursuits, the quest for objectivity is always influenced by the […]

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