Peace Science Made Accessible, Understandable, and Useful.

Digest Issues

Volume 3, Issue 5

Volume 3, Issue 5

Inside this issue, we examine research analyzing hundreds of civil war peace agreements that concludes that “complex” agreements are not necessarily better at keeping the peace than simpler ones. Next, we take a critical look at research on public support for military interventions and the motivations behind support for interventions conducted for “humanitarian” reasons. Third, through examining civics textbooks in Sri Lanka in the context of global peace education efforts, we consider how specific omissions and emphases in these textbooks have served the government’s goals, while failing to address the injustice and inequality still plaguing post-war Sri Lanka. Next, we discuss research finding that the primary peacekeeping tasks associated with preventing violence and protecting civilians can be effectively undertaken by unarmed peacekeepers, who are, furthermore, often able to address some of the shortcomings of their armed counterparts. Finally, the last analysis reflects on possible reasons for why past attempts at peace in South Sudan have failed, calling for more psycho-sociologically informed conflict interventions in the future.

Special Issue: Gender & Conflict

Special Issue: Gender & Conflict

If there is a silver lining to the current political situation in the U.S., it is the way that polarization can bring latent conflict—in the form of extreme inequality and oppression—to the surface to be addressed. In 2018, one would hope that we would not still be living in a sexist, gender-unequal society (or a racist society, for that matter). But, whereas a few years ago, well-meaning people of all genders might have been able to overlook the ways in which gender (and racial) inequalities still permeate our daily existence, today it is difficult to do so any longer. The courageous revelations of hundreds of women across professions have exposed the insidious ways in which sexual assault and harassment still very much structure power dynamics in the workplace and beyond. Comparisons between world leaders about the size of their nuclear “buttons” have made evident how the desire to look more masculine assists in escalating international conflict. In other words, it is no longer possible to ignore the “work” gender does in politics—from the bedroom to the boardroom to the battlefield.

Volume 3, Issue 4

Volume 3, Issue 4

In this issue, we examine research on the successful nuclear weapon free zone treaties that helped pave the way to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and how approaching nuclear weapons prohibition through regional stepping stones may be the key to global abolition. Next, by looking at a study on levels of weapons imports, we see a direct relationship between the influx of weapons and the likelihood of a specific classification of countries engaging in civil war. In the third analysis, we learn that less than one in five nonviolent uprisings in the past 45 years has attempted mediation to resolve the conflicts they seek to address. It turns out that higher risks and costs associated with a nonviolent uprising—either the presence of radical flanks or high levels of state repression—are closely related to mediation attempts. Next, we are taken to post-war Liberia where we explore the role of trust, norms, and social networks play in the ability of former combatants to reintegrate into society. The research highlights additional perspectives on the devastating toll war plays on individuals and societies, even after the fighting ends. Our last analysis focuses on why different organizations in the same movement choose the specific nonviolent tactics they do, resulting in a consideration of resource availability, interdependence, and strategic decision-making.

Volume 3, Issue 3

Volume 3, Issue 3

Inside this issue, you will find analysis of research highlighting the importance of one of the Digest’s primary goals: making academic research more accessible and relevant to those beyond the academic community. Four additional analyses look at the relationship between people’s beliefs on masculinity and honor, on the one hand, and their attitudes towards aggressive policies and war, on the other; the complex attitudes of people in a post-conflict setting "after the smoke clears" by looking at how different conflict narratives contribute to reconciliation; how to influence nonstate actors to comply with humanitarian norms, laws, and treaties; and, lastly, we analyze a study examining the methods by which liberal democracies create and sustain militarism and hence enable war.

Volume 3, Issue 2

Volume 3, Issue 2

In this issue of the Peace Science Digest, we present research highlighting the everyday violence and coping mechanisms of Afghan civilians amidst nearly 40 years of war. Next, we look at the important work of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Palestine/Israel and the tension that exists between their dual accompaniment and solidarity roles in the West Bank. We then turn to the significance of a largely overlooked distinction between borrowing money to fund war versus imposing a war tax—and how the latter vastly reduces public support for war. In the fourth analysis, we examine a study that looks back on North Korean-Western relations to reveal interesting conclusions on how the parties react to triggers and provocations. Finally, we look at research on the Arab Spring, and why civil resistance movements in some countries were more successful than in others.

Volume 3, Issue 1

Volume 3, Issue 1

Inside this issue, you will find analysis of research highlighting the difference between politicians and experts when it comes to their perceptions of how and why conflict develops over time. Next, we follow an argument on why peace education should step back from its broad focus and return instead to its emphasis on the prevention of war and violence. The third analysis looks at civilian self-protection strategies in the Democratic Republic of Congo and why civilians should be treated as agents, rather than as passive recipients, of their own protection. We then then turn to insights from Nepal and gain a closer understanding of how nonviolent resistance might be used as a tool for confronting war, not only as a tool for challenging injustice. Finally, we analyze a study on public opinion polling on the use of military force and how the public supports diplomacy over war when given the option.

Volume 2, Issue 6

Volume 2, Issue 6

In this issue of the Peace Science Digest, you will find research highlighting the negative effects of military spending on a country’s long-term economic growth—contrary to many beliefs, war is not good for the economy. Next, we look at how ad-hoc military intervention increases the likelihood of retaliatory terror attacks, showing how current military strategies are actually making us less secure. We then turn to the role of social media in violent conflict, and how this new age of communication is changing how conflicts are conducted and how conflict actors communicate. In the fourth analysis, we look at how political leaders consider initiating conflicts abroad to distract from domestic problems. Finally, we look at Peace Journalism at a contribution aimed at making Peace Journalism more relevant.

Special Issue: Nuclear Weapons

Special Issue: Nuclear Weapons

Inside this issue, we analyze research on the negligent dismissal of environmental and health considerations during the world’s race to develop nuclear weapons. The second analysis examines how the perceived legitimacy, power, and language of certain people can influence thinking and policy on nuclear disarmament efforts. The third analysis examines how gender and Western domination of knowledge shape nuclear discourse. In the fourth analysis, we highlight the importance of devaluing nuclear weapons not only as material, but as social objects. Finally, we examine empirical research that considers U.S. proximity and power as the main contributor to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Volume 2, Issue 5

Volume 2, Issue 5

Inside this issue, we examine research that explores the mixed human rights implications of U.S. military bases abroad. Next, by looking at a sample of popular U.S. history textbooks, we learn about how nonviolence during the Abolition Movement has been “silenced” in our classrooms. Through the examination of 1990s peace talks in the Korean Peninsula, we learn about the convening power of religious civil society and the positive role the community can play in peacebuilding. Next, we consider the need for multicultural societies to ensure more inclusive engagement across deep divides, and what this engagement means when confronting violent extremism. Finally, we look at four different examples of “zones of peace” in El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Colombia, and the Philippines, and what these examples can teach us about why peacebuilding practices should support local agency instead of international priorities.

Volume 2, Issue 4

Volume 2, Issue 4

In this issue, we examine research on the impact of violent flanks on nonviolent campaigns. We take this opportunity to provide an inward reflection on the current resistance to white supremacist groups and ideologies in the U.S. Next, we discuss health effects of the Syrian War on internally displaced persons and refugees, which is highly relevant for international humanitarian organizations and campaigning. Finally, the last three entries of the Digest focus on the crucial question of how to influence armed actors—particularly non-state armed actors—in the context of civil war such that violence is prevented or terminated. The three studies examined take very different approaches to this question. While the first investigates local civil resistance and the creation of peace territories as means of resisting violence, the latter two examine the efficacy/inefficacy of more traditional tools of international politics: external support to rebel groups and sanctions against them.