A large proportion of currently conflict-affected settings is comprised of post-colonial states which, in view of their recent formation and the diversity of the populations within their borders, are also characterised as emerging and multicultural states. In these settings, marginalisation based on ethnic and/or regional identity in the political and socio-economic processes figure prominently among the causes of violent conflict.
Conducting fieldwork in post-conflict societies has certain characteristics and unwritten rules: it will often touch upon sensitive issues and will thus automatically be challenging. This is amplified when one conducts academic research, which is ambitious by definition, as it strives for theory-building.
Peacekeeping is at the centre of the UN’s efforts to maintain international peace and security. Today, more than 100,000 soldiers and police from 125 countries are serving as blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers around the world.
In accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon (Art. 21c), in 2011 the EU implemented its Conflict Early Warning System (EWS), which is tasked with the systematic collection and analysis of information to identify and understand the risk of violent conflict and to develop strategic responses to mitigate those risks.
From the perspective of early May 2017, over three years on from the start of the conflict in Donbas, the notion that this might be a short-term crisis has now been firmly dispelled.
Those who have straddled both sides of the analyst/practitioner divide will be all too aware of the problems of applying theory to practice when it comes to conflict.