Gender and conflict

Research at the Department related to the topic of gender and conflict.

Ending Atrocities: Third Party Interventions into Civil Wars

Project leader: Lisa Hultman

This project aims to explore the role of third parties in civil war, with a particular emphasis on evaluating a broad set of measures to end atrocities and violent conflicts with disastrous consequences for the civilian population. 

Read more about the project "Ending atrocities: third party interventions into civil wars"

From hopeful agreements to disillusioned peace? The effects of peace agreement implementation on women’s security and empowerment

Project leader: Erika Forsberg 

In 2016, Colombia saw a considerable number of women participating in the peace process, working to ensure that both women and men would benefit from the peace. It was a hopeful scenario for achieving a more equal peace. But the experience in Colombia and in other cases have shown that a gender-aware agreement is not enough. Research suggests that during peace agreement implementation, the creation of a more peaceful society for men does not necessarily equal a more peaceful society for women. In addition, studies show that women may be more negative than men towards peacebuilding initiatives, including ex-combatant reintegration, amnesties, and truth commissions.

To investigate this, we look at experiences of men and women after war, including when peace agreements are implemented, and examine the post-conflict quality of the peace.

Read more about the project "From hopeful agreements to disillusioned peace? The effects of peace agreement implementation on women’s security and empowerment"

Gender, politics and violence in Thailand

Project participants: Elin Bjarnegård, Karen Brounéus, Erik Melander 

Who decides to use violence in a political struggle? This important question has been the subject of surprisingly little systematic research. Most studies on the causes of collective violence within a state have used aggregate units of analysis, such as country-years or opposition movements. As a result, the explanations provided by these studies tend to be structural in character, for example pointing to poverty or economic dependency on natural-resource extraction. While such aggregate structural explanations help to identify societies at risk, they have little or no leverage when it comes to explaining who uses violence. We thus know very little about what distinguishes the small minority that engages in political violence from the large majority that does not. What sets participants in political violence apart from non-participants? This important puzzle is the focus of our research project. We investigate these issues using surveys in Thailand.

Read more about the project "Gender, politics and violence in Thailand"

Masculinity, Nationalism and Military Service in a Conflict Zone: Surveys in Southern Thailand

Project leader: Erik Melander 

This project investigates the relationships between masculine honor ideology and nationalism on the one hand, and military service in a context of active armed conflict on the other. The study examines opposite causal directions, i.e., (1) how masculine honor ideology and nationalism influence propensity to volunteer for military service in an active conflict zone; and (2) how military socialisation and experience of service in an active conflict zone influence masculine honor ideology and nationalism. Theory holds that individuals who more strongly embrace masculine honor ideology and nationalism are more likely to join a militant organisation and participate in violence. However, other arguments posit that the experience of being a member of a militant organisation, and experiencing violence, boost militarized masculinity and nationalism.

Read more about the project "Masculinity, nationalism and military service in a conflict zone: surveys in southern Thailand"

Project on Preventing Wartime Sexual Violence

Project leader: Angela Muvumba Sellström, Senior Researcher, Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) and Uppsala University (Leave of Absence).

This project arose first from the research initiative Disciplining Fighters: Understanding Armed Political Actors’ Control of Sexual Violence, funded by the Swedish Research Council (January 2016 - December 2018/Grant no. 2015-03094). The main purpose of the project is to explore how different actors stop or stem the commission of sexual violence. We seek to contribute to our wider understanding of the direct and indirect internal factors that lead to wartime rape, sexual exploitation and similar abuses. The work of the project entails assessing how some actors are able to discipline their fighters and how different conflict resolution processes effectively shape these practices. A core aim is to study the variation in causes of prevention among different types of non-state armed political actors such as rebel armies and armed liberation movements. The project’s data collection techniques include interviews and focus group research. The project on Preventing Sexual Violence also explores the ways that the global women, peace and security agenda intersects with the prevention of sexual violence among armed political actors. Although its funded phase is complete, the project continues to produce research and carry out cooperation with a range of institutions on the theme of preventing wartime sexual violence. 

Read more about the "Project on preventing sexual violence"

Gender, war trauma and peacebuilding

Project leader: Karen Brounéus

In this project, we seek to investigate the challenges of post-conflict peace-building processes by studying the complex (and possibly gendered) relationships between war-related trauma and attitudes towards peace-building, trust and co-existence after war. More specifically, the project investigates whether gendered differences in war trauma may have a direct link to the prevalence of psychological health problems such as PTSD and depression, which – in turn – may become significant hurdles to peacebuilding in the post-conflict phase.

Read more about the project on "Gender, war trauma and peacebuilding"