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Gyda Sindre launches new research network on post-conflict studies

Researcher and Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of Comparative Politics and University of Cambridge, Gyda Sindre, has launched an ambitious research network and website which will bring thorough attention to several themes connected to post-conflict studies.

Gyda Sindre
One of the goals behind the research initiative is to connect the literature on political parties to the literature on post-conflict studies, says the leader of the network Gyda Sindre.

The network, called Politics After War or PAW, facilitates cooperation and sharing of knowledge among researchers interested in themes such as the development of party politics, political mobilization and the relationship between state and society in states that have gone through civil war or intra-state conflict. The research connected to the network investigates among other the transformation of rebel groups into political parties, the development of these types of parties, state building and democratization. Of special interest for the new network's research in particular, is the relationship between how conflicts end and its consequences, the organization of rebel groups and their transition to regular political entities during peace times and elections in post-conflict states. 

Contributes with a wider perspective

Existing analyzes of rebel groups focus largely on the transition phase after a conflict has ended. Thus, we have received many explanations of the challenges that rebel groups face in peace times, in transition to political parties.

- Some aspects of these transformations on the other hand, are not explored as much, such as the importance of how conflicts end, and the legacy of the wars they fought and their characteristics. Here the nuances can mean a lot, and even be absolutely decisive, says Sindre.

Characteristics associated with different rebel groups also needs more research. Crucial to their further development are characteristics such as the ideology they stood for, identity, what types of networks they managed to build up and organizational structure. This is the theme of a special issue in the journal "Government and Opposition", edited by Sindre, which will be published later this year.

- These elements have major implications for the development of party politics, state building, peace and democracy far beyond the transition phase following the conflict - they can follow a state's development for decades. It is therefore a very important issue to build up more knowledge about.

World-renowned researchers

The network which is partially financed by SPIRE-funds, was formally launched in April this year. This was marked by the first Politics After War conference which took plance at Jesus College in Cambridge. Joining the team are renowned researchers from more than 20 universities and research institutes, such as University of Cambridge, Columbia University and The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. UiB professor and deputy dean of research Ragnhild Louise Muriaas is also part of the team. 

The researchers specialize in different themes and areas. Sindre who initiated the network does research on political parties and former rebel groups in Asia and the Balkans. Others are experts on Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. 

Visit Politics After Wars' website here.