Conflict, Violence and Security

The effects of insecurity, violence and conflict are devastating. Violence kills, maims and displaces people, reinforces inequalities and creates barriers to economic and human development. IDS’ work provides a nuanced and realistic understanding of the relationship between violence, conflict, security and development with the aim of helping policymakers, practitioners and citizens build peace, prevent conflict and reduce poverty.

Youths with panga knives, bows and arrows and corrugated metal shields clash on the streets of Nakuru. Ethnic violence sparked last December following protests against disputed election results, after suspected vote rigging by Kikuyu President Mwai Kibaki. Copyright: Frederic Courbet/PANOS

IDS research examines the multiple layers and contexts in which violence manifests – from household to state and global level – and pin points the links and overlaps between these layers. We seek to understand how people live and interact in contexts of conflict and violence, and which institutions best support them.

Our research findings are used to develop policies and practices that strengthen people’s efforts to secure their own lives and livelihoods and improve the functioning of political institutions responsible for security and the management and prevention of conflict.

IDS has a pedigree of pioneering work on expanding citizen action in violent contexts. Our research shifts the analysis of fragility and chronic violence from one focused on the state to a more citizen-centred perspective. Our research on gender-based violence focuses on the power of collective action to change attitudes, norms and behaviours.

Another focal area is the dynamics of policy processes around conflict, violence and security examining the key framing and narratives. Our research focuses on non-traditional forms of security, especially linked to water, energy, food and health as well as post conflict and state building issues affecting service delivery and livelihoods. The encounter between global governance security development concerns, local kinds of knowledge and security brokers, and the role of emerging powers is central to our analysis.

Our work on this conflict, security and violence forms part of a broader IDS focus on building inclusive, secure societies.

IDS manages the Households in Conflict Network which brings together researchers interested in the micro level analysis of the relationship between violent conflict and household welfare.

In addition, IDS hosts the Addressing and Mitigating Violence programme which is funded by the UK Department for International Development. This flagship programme will generate practical policy options for states and citizens so they can better address and mitigate violence in both rural and urban settings.

IDS also hosts the Global Drug and Development Policy Roundup, which brings together researchers and policy-makers from across the world to address the nexus between illicit drugs, drug policy and drug-trafficking, on the one hand, and socioeconomic development, human rights and citizen security on the other.

To recieve regular updates on our work, subscribe to our Conflict, Security and Violence e-newsletter

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Gauthier Marchais, Research Fellow in the Conflict and Violence research cluster at IDS More details

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Jean Pierre Tranchant is a Research Fellow with the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team More details

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Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency

The Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency (PVCA) project is an action research project designed by researchers at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and carried out with a number of institutional partners. More details

Quantifying the Impact of Women’s Participation in Peace Building

Review existing evidence on the importance of women’s activities in local peace-building processes, and on the impact of policy interventions aimed at supporting the social, economic and political roles that women play in peace-building processes. More details

Scaling-Up Early Child Development Interventions in Rwanda

This project aims to establish a long-term partnership between the IDS, Save the Children UK (SCUK) and Save the Children International Rwanda (SCI-R) to analyse, evaluate and scale-up (in partnership with the Government of Rwanda) a unique holistic programme (First Steps) that supports families of children aged 0-3 in the district of Ngororero in Rwanda. More details

Tomorrow Today: Development Frontiers in an Insecure World: International Security and the Implications for Development

Development has long been linked with security. However, in recent years development and security have been linked in new ways. These new ties reflect changing conceptualisations of threats originating from aid-recipient contexts in an interdependent world and the expectation that development should help to prevent the spread of these risks. More details

UN Habitat III: Creating Safe and Inclusive Cities That Leave No One Behind

Addressing security and inclusion in cities as universal issues, at this side-event we will focus on how well-managed urbanisation can revitalise urban spaces that had either been lost to violence or suffered from a lack of access to basic services and neglect. More details

Understanding Drivers of Conflict and Fragility in Pakistan

Under this consultancy, Patricia Justino will (i) co-lead, with the Bank team, research and authorship for a background paper (and related publications) on drivers of conflict and fragility in Pakistan. More details

Understanding Implications of Household Risk and Social Protection in the Afghan Context of Conflict and Fragility

Patricia Justino will (i) co-lead research and authorship for a background paper (and related publications) on household risk, behaviour, and policy options in the Afghanistan context of conflict and, (ii) for a social safety net impact evaluation, contribute to instrument design, analysis, and interpretation of results, especially with respect to conflict-related issues. More details

VAWG Helpdesk Programme Evaluation Support to Accountable Security and Justice in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

This project aims to improve access to security and justice institutions for Women and to strengthen accountability of the security services at the level of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Interior. More details

Women in Local Peacebuilding Research

Documenting the role of women in local peacebuilding, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Liberia. More details

Womens Economic Inequality and VAWG consultancy

In this consultancy, Marinella Leone is developing evidence to support arguments and recommendations made in the ActionAid report exploring the interlinkages between women’s economic inequality/ neoliberal policies and Violence against women and girls (VAWG). More details

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Does Land Titling Matter? The Role of Land Property Rights in Colombia’s War on Drugs

IDS Policy Briefing 156 (2018)

The ‘war on drugs’ has failed. Despite an increase in law enforcement, production levels of coca – the crop used to make cocaine – have hardly altered in the last decade. More details

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Jobs for Ex-Militants in the Niger Delta – Why Isn’t the Private Sector Involved?

IDS Policy Briefing 155 (2018)

At the end of violent conflict, the most difficult task for most countries is the reintegration of former combatants into civilian life and employment. Failure to do this can leave the door open for further protests and social disorder. More details

Non-IDS publication

Welfare Spending and Political Conflict in Latin America, 1970-2010

World Development 107 (2018)

In this article we study an age-old question in political economy: does government spending on welfare ensure peace? This question was at the heart of the European Welfare State model of the early 20th century, and remains relevant today in face of rising inequalities and political conflict. More details

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Energy Protests in Fragile Settings: The Unruly Politics of Provisions in Egypt, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, 2007–2017

IDS Working Paper 513 (2018)

How do popular protests about the basics of everyday life, specifically about energy, come about in settings where political authority is fragmented and conflict and repression common? How do state and political actors respond to protests which disrupt social and economic life, and undermine public authority? To what extent do such mass protests, often justified as inherently moral struggles over the basics of everyday life, empower the powerless or hold the powerful to account in such political settings? And how do external actors shape these events? More details

School Feeding or General Food Distribution? Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Educational Impacts of Emergency Food Assistance during Conflict in Mali

Innocenti Working Paper 2018-04 (2018)

We rely on a unique pre-crisis baseline and five-year follow-up to investigate the effects of emergency school feeding and general food distribution (GFD) on children's schooling during conflict in Mali. We estimate programme impact on child enrolment, absenteeism and attainment by combining difference in differences with propensity score matching. More details

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Wellbeing and Protracted Urban Displacement: Refugees and Hosts in Jordan and Lebanon

The war in Syria, now in its eighth year, has led to the mass exodus of the Syrian people. Lebanon and Jordan have achieved a remarkable feat by hosting millions of refugees, with many having located to urban areas, where the great majority of local populations are already situated. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Post-Conflict Ruptures and the Political Space for Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is widely deemed to have made rapid progress on gender equality and women's empowerment. How to understand the apparent advances of women in a poor, populous, Muslim-majority country in the belt of classic patriarchy? More details

This is the front cover to the book 'Universities and Conflict: The Role of Higher Education in Peacebuilding and Resistance'.

Universities and Conflict: The Role of Higher Education in Peacebuilding and Resistance

This book uses a series of case studies to examine the roles played by universities during situations of conflict, peacebuilding and resistance. More details

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Humanitarian Emergencies

Until recently the issue of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for women and girls in emergencies had been somewhat overlooked by agencies engaged in humanitarian response. More details

Urban Community Profiles: Safe Relocation and Resettlement in Post-War Sri Lanka

In this chapter, we offer some theories about how to create safer cities in post- war countries. We do this by presenting our research on the losses and gains of two relocated urban IDP communities in post- war Sri Lanka: Colombo, the national capital, and Jaffna, the capital of the country’s northern province. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Bulletin 49.1A, 'Inclusive Peace and Security'.

Inclusive Peace and Security

IDS Bulletin 49.1A (2018)

This IDS Bulletin Archive Collection reviews four decades of analysis and research on peace, security, and development, drawing on articles published in previous issues of the Bulletin throughout this timeframe. More details

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Urban Refugees in Lebanon: Housing, Residency, and Wellbeing

IDS Policy Briefing 151 (2018)

Lebanon hosts over a million Syrian refugees in addition to other displaced groups. These refugees have gravitated to urban centres, putting significant pressure on local infrastructure and services. More details

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Decentralisation, Devolution, and Dynamics of Violence in Africa

IDS Working Paper 511 (2018)

This research sets out to understand the effect of processes of decentralisation on violent conflict in Africa, and what entry points these provide for research and policy actors to engage in meaningful and effective governance, peace-building and conflict resolution. More details

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Indirect Rule in Armed Conflict: Theoretical Insights from Eastern DRC

IDS Working Paper 510 (2018)

Recent literature has shown that the study of armed conflict can be highly informative to understand processes of state-building. One of the fundamental choices that states or other military actors face when occupying new territories and populations is whether to administer them by developing novel administrations (direct rule), or by devolving rule to pre-existing local authorities (indirect rule). More details

Building Peace in the New Oil Frontiers of Northern Kenya

Since the discovery of oil five years ago in Northern Kenya, explorations have spread to more than 30 drilling and testing sites. This has brought foreign investment, and in turn, new work opportunities, corporate social investment in schools and health clinics, and options for personal enrichment through contracts and tenders. In an area long inhabited by pastoralists, this rapid development has created tensions, resistance, and conflict around both access to new opportunities and also the impacts on lives and livelihoods. More details

The Impact of Food Assistance on Food Insecure Populations During Conflict: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Mali

World Development (2018)

Mali, a vast landlocked country at the heart of West Africa in the Sahel region, is one of the least developed and most food insecure countries in the world. In this study, we exploit data from a unique pre-crisis baseline to evaluate the impact of humanitarian aid on the food security of rural populations. More details

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The Role of Land Property Rights in the War on Illicit Crops: Evidence from Colombia

World Development 103 (2018)

This paper examines the effect of the formalisation of land property rights in the war against illicit crops, using the case of Colombia. More details

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Youth Engagement in the Realm of Local Governance: Opportunities for Peace?

IDS Working Paper 508 (2018)

An interest in young people has gained significant traction in both policy and academic circles over the past ten years, partly informed by the correlations between ‘youth bulges’ and large numbers of unemployed youth and a country’s instability. More details

Non-IDS publication

Women and Peacebuilding: Local Perspectives on Opportunities and Barriers

Development and Change (2018)

This article discusses new qualitative evidence on the opportunities and barriers to women's participation in peace-building processes, based on a comparative analysis of case studies conducted in Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal and Sierra Leone. More details

Does Intimate Partner Violence Decline as Women’s Empowerment Becomes Normative? Perspectives of Bangladeshi Women.

World Development 101 (2018)

The aim of this study is to clarify the relationship between women’s empowerment and IPV in a setting where gender roles are rapidly changing and IPV rates are high. More details

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