ONLINE WORKSHOP: Complex Systems Research in Peace and Conflict Studies

Thu 2 Sep 2021
Time: 15:00 Location: Zoom Language: English

This online research workshop will bring together scholars who have been working on complex systems research in peace and conflict studies. The purpose will be to share approaches and insights, identify commonalities and contradictions, and to develop collaborations across disciplinary boundaries.

This online workshop will take place over two days, with panels on September 2nd and 3rd.  Scroll down this page to see the full programme. The event will take place on Zoom. Click here to register.

Over the past decade, and in response to continuing challenges in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, progressively more scholars have identified complexity theory as a valuable tool for understanding conflict and informing peace intervention. This work, however, is diverse and disconnected, with scholars working in different disciplines, with a diversity of methods, and on many distinct cases and studying various dynamics of conflict and peace. 

Based on a call for proposals we have selected 20 scholars to present ongoing research, recent publications, and working papers, and have clustered them together in 4 panels.

Authors and abstracts:

Authors and Abstracts.pdf (177.2 kB)

Watch this introduction to the workshop:

     Panel Schedule

 Thursday, 2 September, 15:00 – 17:00 (CET, Oslo)

 Chair: Gearoid Millar

Claudio Alberti, Roland Dittli and Laurent Goetschel: Complexity-Oriented MEAL and Conflict Sensitivity: Learning from Complex Programs in Fragile Contexts 

Sayra van den Berg and Walt Kilroy: Using Systems Thinking to Understand the Interaction between Transitional Justice and the Reintegration of Ex-Combatants

Lance Bradley: De-Facto Statehood and its Impact on Post-Conflict Rebuilding in the Donbas

Czeslaw Mesjasz: The Ideas of Complex Systems in the Works of Leading Scholars in Peace and Conflict Studies


Thursday, 2 September, 17:30 – 19:30 (CET, Oslo)

 Chair: Roger Mac Ginty

Lara Olson: Getting Peacebuilding Beyond the Linear at the Operational Level

Eric Tanguay and Jinelle Piereder: Much Ado About Nothing? The Instrumentalization of Complexity and Local Ownership Rhetoric in Peacebuilding

Roger Mac Ginty: Quantum Peace and Conflict  

Emery Brusset: Is Ethnographic Attribution Possible? A Possible Way to Apply Evaluation to Community Dialogue


Friday, 3 September, 15:00 – 17:00 (CET, Oslo)

 Chair: Cedric de Coning

Lord John Alderdice: Conflict, Complexity and Cooperation

Stephen Gray: Power Dynamics in Peacebuilding Relationality: Vertical Integration and the Network View in Myanmar

Olga Vorkunova: Dialogue, Understanding and Misunderstanding: Peacebuilding and Complex Identity in the Trinity Sea System

Gearoid Millar: Escaping Conflict Systems: Peace Processes, Peacebuilding, and the Promise of Adjacent Attractors


 Friday, 3 September, 17:30 – 19:30 (CET, Oslo)

 Chair: Lara Olson

Cedric de Coning: Adaptive Mediation: Leveraging Knowledge Sharing to Make and Sustain Peace

Megan Greeley: Examining the 'How' of Adaptive Peacebuilding Praxis from a Postcolonial Indigenous Research Paradigm

Aviva Silburt: Complex Systems Theory as a Tool to Navigate Peacebuilding Challenges in Research and Practice: Experience from Mining Conflicts in Guatemala

David Wilkinson: The Complexity of Wars and the “Nuclear Peace”