Paths to Peace in Complex Conflict Systems


Project leader

Project Period

  • 2017-2020

Other Participants

  • Min Zaw Oo
  • ​Stein Tønnesson


Transitions from war to peace in countries with internal armed conflict may require several conflict terminations. This has three reasons: (1) The government may be fighting several armed groups at the same time; (2) New armed groups may emerge during the transition; (3) Armed conflicts having ended may become active again. The project will study processes by which several armed conflicts are terminated in one country, with emphasis on the impact conflict terminations have on other conflicts in the same country. This has implications for theory. When one conflict ends, other armed groups will consider whether they shall seek a settlement, stay inactive or continue fighting. They may co-ordinate with each other, or splinter into factions. We aim to view all conflicts in a country as a system, using Myanmar as our main case. We will develop a theory of reputation learning in which governments and armed groups gain reputation for trustworthiness, resolve, and military capacity.

The project, based at Uppsala University and including a Norwegian partner (PRIO) and a Myanmar based research team, consists in (1) updating the UCDP Peace Agreement Dataset for 2012-2016, to enable (2) a statistical analysis of all developing countries with intrastate armed conflict, and (3) an in-depth case study of how conflict terminations and onsets have influenced each other in Myanmar's conflict system since 1989. The project, running 2017-2020, combines quantitative and qualitative methods.


The Swedish Research Council