Politics of Protection: Explaining International Responses to Atrocities

Project Overview

Project leader

Project period 

  • 2020–2025


The recent decades have witnessed a normative change in the debate about international intervention in addressing war crimes and violence against civilians. There is often an expectation that the UN or other international actors should react when civilians are being harmed. This project focuses on these politics of protection. It explores the factors that determine when the international community decides to intervene to stop civilians from being harmed, and what form such interventions take. There is a wide array of possible responses from the international community, ranging from preventive diplomacy and naming and shaming to reactive coercion in the form of sanction or the use of force. The purpose of this project is to develop a theory about intervention that acknowledges both the influence of international norms and power political considerations.

This project is funded by The Swedish Research Council. A Wallenberg Academy Fellow grant allows this project to be extended to explore also the consequences of politicized protection for civilian protection, meaning the extent and ways in which civilians are effectively protected through intervention. This research builds on previous work conducted within the project Ending Atrocities.


Swedish Research Council Consolidator grant + Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation


Project participants

We are soon recruiting a postdoc!

The following students have done internships within the project:

  • Hasini Ransala Liyanage, Research Intern