Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Conflict continuities

Many conflicts in Africa have been studied and described as location and time bound. Yet conflict is rarely confined and contained, and instead reaches across communities, borders, and generations.

Lidewyde Berckmoes

Conflict and peace are processes grounded in everyday, local as well larger, geopolitical dynamics. In this collaborative research group we foreground contemporary situations of largescale, societal and political conflict, to then shift focus to what happens outside and beyond the conflict core. We develop research along three axes of continuities, acknowledging that these axes sometimes overlap, coincide, and depend on each other. Namely, continuities in time, in geographical and virtual space, and in the networks of actors involved in conflict and peacebuilding. We explore the forces that drive conflict continuities, but also question how over time, space, and actors, continuities may entail disruption and transformation. In this way, we seek to contribute to and bring further critical debates on how to conceptualise and study conflict and crisis. Moreover, we hope to lay bare the deeper currents and particularities of Africa’s contemporary conflicts, shedding new light on, among other things, ideas of New Wars, networked conflicts, the blurring boundaries between crime and conflict, and competing understandings of ‘peace’. Throughout our activities, we foreground questions on the conceptualisation of and methodological approaches to ‘grasping’ the inherently fleeting conflict continuities.

For more information and a full list of researchers involved in this CRG, visit the ASCL website.

Photo: Laissez-passer of Congolese refugee in Rwanda, 2022, copyright LH Berckmoes

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