Effective responses to violence require greater attention to security in the vernacular, say IDS researchers

11 May 2017

In a new special issue of the journal Peacebulding IDS researchers call for policymakers and practitioners to rethink security, peacebuilding and violence reduction in the light of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on ‘promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development’.

The special issue – entitled ‘Security in the Vernacular’ - presents new analysis and case studies, which aim to challenge and refresh the established policy consensus around violence reduction and security.

“The prevailing emphases on narrow causation of civil wars, aggregate indicators, rebel motivations, and so-called ‘external stressors’, conceal a more complex multi-causal, multi-level story”, explain IDS’s Jeremy Lind and Robin Luckham in their introduction to the issue.

Articles are distinctive in focusing upon the vernacular or local understandings of those at the receiving end of direct and structural violence; and in analysing the insurgent margins where violence and insecurity are most concentrated. The idea of ‘insurgent margins’ enables focus on violence that occurs in states and areas not normally considered fragile or experiencing open violent conflict in addition to those torn apart by such conflict.

The special issue, edited by Dr Jeremy Lind and Emeritus Professor Robin Luckham, includes contributions from seven IDS researchers working across five different thematic IDS research and knowledge clusters, and builds on a rich body of IDS work that contributes to one of IDS’s core strategic themes: building secure and inclusive societies.

All articles are accessible online for free:


Image: ‘
Nigeria, Gwoza, Borno State: Sheets dry on a burnt out car in a school yard. The army ousted Boko Haram from the town in 2015. However, it was left largely destroyed and there is little food and almost no access to medical facilities. Humanitarian organisations can currently only reach the town by helicopter making its reconstruction almost impossible.’ Credit: Sven Torfinn / Panos