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A Micro-Level Analysis of Violent Conflict Synthesis and Reflections Patricia Justino Director, MICROCON IDS, 30 June 2011 Twitter:

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Presentation on theme: "A Micro-Level Analysis of Violent Conflict Synthesis and Reflections Patricia Justino Director, MICROCON IDS, 30 June 2011 Twitter:"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Micro-Level Analysis of Violent Conflict Synthesis and Reflections Patricia Justino Director, MICROCON IDS, 30 June #microconflict

2 Key lessons Ordinary people matter People are more than victims: the importance of agency People build resilience in the face of conflict It is about understanding the conflict Length and structure of conflict Nature of violence Institutional change Agency and resilience shape conflict processes and outcomes


4 Main purpose Advance the field of conflict analysis through micro level approach understand individual and group interactions leading to and resulting from violent conflicts (full conflict cycle) violent conflicts: systematic breakdown of the social contract resulting from and/or leading to changes in social norms, which involve mass violence instigated through collective action Better informed domestic, regional and international conflict policy – placing individuals and groups at the centre of interventions

5 MICROCON Consortium Rest of the World Canada: University of British Columbia South Africa: University of Cape Town Colombia: Universidad de Los Andes India: Institute for Human Development Uganda: Makerere University Kyrgyzstan: Centre for Economic and Social Research United States: Tufts University Yale University Europe Belgium: Centre for European Policy Studies Université Catholique du Louvain Ghent University Free University of Brussels (VUB) Norway: Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies Bulgaria: International Collaboration Institute Affiliated to the German Public Universities Association – Sofia Branch Portugal: University Nova of Lisboa France: University of Rouen Romania: Institute of Agricultural Economics Germany: German Institute for Economic Research United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security Spain: University of Alicante Italy: Institute of International Affairs UK: Institute of Development Studies Poverty Research Unit, Sussex University of Oxford The Netherlands: Institute of Social Studies

6 Evidence and data New Data Existing Data

7 Facts and motivations Until recently conflict and violence not mainstreamed in development policy Concern with state security and state capacity What about the people? 1.5 billion people affected by conflict and violence One third of those living in extreme poverty Over 1/2 of all child mortality in the world Over 40% of all out of school children No conflict-affected country will achieve the MDGs Limited knowledge and evidence of how people live in contexts of violent conflict

8 Knowledge gaps At a fundamental level, conflict originates from peoples behaviour and how they interact with society and their environment Who are the people affected by violent conflict? How do they live? What do they do to secure lives and livelihoods? What options do they have? What choices do they make? Why are they get affected by violence? In what way? How does violence change options and choices? Are they part of the conflict? What led them into it?

9 What have we learned?

10 Framework Conflict Violence Institutions

11 Ordinary people matter Important macro causes of violent conflict military, financial, technological, ideological beliefs, mobilisation capacity, strength of state presence Processes of violent conflict also related to: what happens to people during violent conflicts what people do in areas of violence – adapt to secure lives and livelihoods micro foundations of violent conflict

12 Adaptation affects conflict Welfare effects: Direct: killings, injuries, disability, assets, displacement Indirect: local institutions: markets, social relations, political institutions national economy: economic growth, distribution But people adapt to survive take on available opportunities adapt forms of livelihoods to survival needs join in informal exchange and employment markets form social and political alliances negotiate with local actors Adaptation shapes and is shaped by conflict outcomes and processes

13 It is about understanding the conflict

14 The conflict Peoples behaviour, choices, attitudes and preferences shape conflict processes on the ground Where to fight, with whom, for how long Conflict is not a shock Lasts across generations and people adapt accordingly Long-term legacies Some negative; some positive Conflict alters peoples behaviour, choices, attitudes and preferences Transformation and change; not short-term effects

15 The violence Contexts where conflict managed through violent means Peoples behaviour, choices, attitudes and preferences enable (or constrain) strategic use of violence Beyond destruction: violence used to force transformation some of it may create more certain and secure environments Interactions between types of violence: violent riots, organised crime, communal violence, domestic violence armed fighting

16 Institutional transformation People resort to local institutions to protect economic status and lives Policy focus on the importance of building institutions – but what institutions and how? Focus still on solving violent conflict through peace agreements between selected leaders, followed by the panacea of DDR, SSR, elections What about the mechanisms that govern the effective implementation of these policies on the ground? Social interactions and local governance structures

17 Social interactions Social norms of trust and cooperation Development and peace-building focus on community-level Support new investments (physical and human capital) DDR and reconstruction programmes? Forms of social organisation Management of property rights Dispute resolution over land and common resources Distribution of public goods and common resources Regulation of access to public goods, basic services and markets

18 Local governance Close link between violent conflict and the absence of the state Absence of state does not mean absence of governance – local order determined by who holds the gun These institutions can be persistent and efficient – provision of basic sense of security Long term process: no short answers to peace and state-building change behaviour, norms and organisations

19 From research to policy

20 How to improve conflict policy Defusing mechanisms: entry points to break long-term negative legacies and build on positive changes This allows: Development policies: incentives to halt use of violence as strategy to influence allocation of power Institution building: what institutions and how?

21 Defusing mechanisms Key channels linking interventions and outcomes Exercise of agency in conflict settings (not always positive) Structure of the conflict Close links between people and conflict processes Which entry points? Development: focus on supporting resilience It is not enough to just look at the poor; vulnerable to violence Violence and conflict as constant factors in peoples lives Vulnerability is everywhere; not just among those that we can see Institutions: engagement with new/emerging power structures New development actors? From ordinary people to non-state armed actors

22 Development policies Current international policy: (our) security as major goal; development aid as means to support stability Beyond hearts and minds: (re)establish social contract (broken or contested, sometimes for good reasons) It is about helping to provide opportunities and equality Development should be priority in itself Security is priority for people but for whom, how and what the trade-offs Health, education and economic security beyond emergency aid If states does not provide then someone else will Not just aid: building structures and guaranteeing equitable access to them Humanitarian aid useful but limited to short-term intervention

23 Building institutions Need to get institutions right: Which institutions? How? More attention paid to the other side of the story – what do we do about the institutions that emerge from conflict? Violence instrumental role beyond destruction Emergence of social and political order Implications: Explaining why conflict persists, mutates, and how peace may emerge Survival and security of ordinary people Negotiate with, engage and understand complex distributions of power within populations in conflict-affected contexts

24 Looking ahead

25 Ongoing/Recent Conflicts Recent Revolts / Major Protests Recent Internal Conflicts / Uprisings Ongoing Internal Conflicts Intergroup Violence Drug Related / Gang Violence

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