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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‘Seeing’ Conflicts at the Margins: Understanding Community Experiences Through Social Research and Digital Narrative in Kenya and Madagascar

In a context of unprecedented investment in natural resource developments, this project bridges the social sciences, the humanities and community-based participatory research to ask how different ‘communities’ of actors ‘see’ and experience resource conflicts in Kenya and Madagascar. We use social science alongside a variety of participatory multimedia methods to open up conflict research to more diverse framings and voices, which can offer new insights on the drivers of resource conflict and pathways to peace. More details

A Mobile Training Platform for Urban Policing in India and Nepal

The aim of this project is to develop training videos for urban police that can be accessed via mobiles. This kind of platform allows the videos to be centrally updated, accessed (or ‘pushed’) on demand, and also allow for an innovative addition to police performance monitoring. More details

Advisor for the World Development Report 2017

Prof. Patricia Justino is working on the World Development Report 2017 as an advisor to the lead author of the chapter on "Security, Conflict and the Absence of Violence", as well as producing a background paper for the WDR chapter. More details

Cities, Violence and Order

Cities have long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also as central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Community Based Peace Processes in Myanmar

Since 2013 Danny Burns has been working with Stephen Gray and Josephine Roos on systemic approaches to peace in Northern Myanmar. The work is rooted in community perspectives on the issues that face local people in Kachin and Northern Shan State. More details

Community Cooperation in Post-Conflict Bosnia

This project will investigate what determines the level of community cooperation in the post-conflict period. More details

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Research Hub

This project supports and facilitates high-quality research, exchange of ideas, relationship-building and networking among the scholarly and practitioner community working in countering violent extremism (CVE) in Kenya. The CVE Research Hub will serve as a centre of excellence in research on policy, practice and theory in Kenya More details

Democratisation, Decentralisation, Local Governance: IDS-SDC Collaboration

The aim of this third phase of cooperation between IDS and SDC is to share learning and collaborate on policy engagement in priority areas of decentralised and democratic local governance. More details

Disadvantaged Groups and Social Mobility

Bruno Martorano and Patricia Justino will analyse group-based inequalities in Mexico and write a paper on the topic of ‘The impact of the recent crisis in Mexico on economic and political inequalities among minorities’ that discusses and advances an argument about patterns and trends. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Fighting Over Land: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Colombia

The aim of this project is to develop a research agenda on the long-term effect of civil conflict on institutions, particularly on land tenure structure, in Colombia. More details

Food Security, Gender Equality and Peace-Building: Theoretical Framework and Future Agendas

IDS researchers have been commissioned to generate knowledge and evidence-based, actionable recommendations to governments and other stakeholders on the nexus between support to food and nutrition security and building resilient livelihoods, peace processes and stability, and how to integrate gender issues into appropriate policies and actions related to food and nutrition security in situations where conflict exists, has recently ceased, or is likely to reoccur. More details

Futures Workshop on Cities, Violence and Order: The Challenges and Complex Taxonomy of Security Provision in Cities of Tomorrow

Cities have for long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Gender Based Violence in the Gaza Strip After Israeli Operation 'Protective Edge’

The proposed research attempts to contribute to our knowledge of VAW incidence and prevalence as well as responses, coping strategies and mechanisms of support in the five governorates in Gaza 2015. More details

GSDRC

GSDRC provide high quality, timely knowledge products to support international development planning, policymaking and other activities area. This includes a document library, a research helpdesk and email bulletins More details

Large-scale resource development at the rural margins: assessing implications for governance, conflict and peacebuilding in Ivory Coast and Kenya

Over three years, this project examined how conflict, local governance and peace-building arrangements in the rural margins of Kenya and Ivory Coast are affected by new, large-scale investments in resource exploitation. More details

MICROCON

A five-year research programme, taking an innovative micro level, multidisciplinary approach to studying the conflict cycle. More details

New and Emerging Forms of Violence Data for Crisis Response: A Comparative Analysis in Kenya

The project will produce a robust evidence base on the opportunities and limitations of social media data on violence reporting to inform UK emergency and crisis response, in the context of violence monitoring in Kenya. More details

Overcoming Violence Through Local Institutions: A Comparative Study of Households and Communities in Colombia

This project will support collaboration and engagement between IDS and the Universidad de los Andes in conducting a unique three-year research programme on the effect of violent conflict on institutional change. More details

Pilot Study to Estimate the Extent of Child Soldiering, Child Labour, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in South Sudan, DRC and Nigeria

This pilot study, funded by ILO, IOM, UNICEF and Walk Free Foundation, aims to estimate the extent of child soldiering and forced labour, human trafficking, and modern slavery in contexts of armed conflict in South Sudan, DRC and Nigeria. More details

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IDS publications on international development research

The Effect of Gender Equality Programming on Humanitarian Outcomes

This UN Women report presents the overall findings, draws comparative conclusions across the four case studies and discusses practical recommendations for integrating gender equality programming in future humanitarian interventions in ways that strengthen effectiveness and inclusiveness. More details

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Understanding Relationships between the Green Economy, Resource Financialization and Conflict

IDS Policy Briefing 95 (2015)

A key aspect of the United Nations’ sustainable development approach centres on creating markets for financialized ‘natural capital’ products, particularly in resource-rich, lower-income countries. The appeal of this comes from a set of policy promises termed the ‘triple-win’: achieving environmental sustainability, socially inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Working Paper 457, 'Inequality, Social Cooperation and Local Collective Action'.

Inequality, Social Cooperation and Local Collective Action

IDS Working Paper 457 (2015)

This paper examines the relationship between inequality and collective action, and identifies a range of mechanisms that shape the association between income inequality and local collective action. More details

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Tangled Ties: Al-Shabaab and Political Volatility in Kenya

IDS Evidence Report 130 (2015)

In recent years, a spate of attacks has destabilised a swathe of Kenya’s peripheral counties as well as bringing terror to its capital, Nairobi. As violent insecurity spreads, it has fomented fear and stoked ethnic and regional divisions, precipitating security crackdowns and roiling the country’s infamously tumultuous politics. More details

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Understanding Insurgent Margins in Kenya, Nigeria and Mali

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 10 (2015)

In recent years, violent insurgency has gripped the margins of Kenya, Mali and Nigeria. Militant Islamist groups have attacked civilian populations, state security personnel and political-administrative officials, spreading insecurity across large areas and exploiting the mistrust between societies at the margins and central authorities. More details

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Does War Empower Women? Evidence from Timor Leste

IDS Evidence Report 121 (2015)

Conflicts may change the material conditions and the incentives individuals face through death, displacement and other consequences of violence. Being a victim of a war can also profoundly change individual beliefs, values and preferences (Bellows and Miguel 2009). More details

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Do Government Transfers Reduce Conflict?

IDS Policy Briefing 90 (2015)

How can we mitigate civil unrest before it results in the breakdown of social order? Not all forms of civil unrest escalate into violence, but why do some deteriorate and others do not? More details

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Return of the Rebel: Legacies of War and Reconstruction in West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic

Practice Paper in Brief 19 (2015)

The spread of Ebola in West Africa centres on a region with a shared recent history of transnational civil war and internationally led post-conflict reconstruction efforts. This legacy of conflict and shortcomings in the reconstruction efforts are key to understanding how the virus has spread. More details

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Sustainable Development Goals Must Consider Security, Justice and Inequality to Achieve Social Justice

IDS Policy Briefing 88 (2015)

Security and social justice have a crucial role to play in the newly proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More details

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Addressing and Mitigating Violence: Uptake Strategy, Year Three Update

IDS Evidence Report 117 (2015)

The overarching purpose of the Addressing and Mitigating Violence (AMV) theme is to generate useful analysis to tackle policy dilemmas relating to ‘newer’ forms of violence and organised crime. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Crisis Management Models in Africa

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1199 (2015)

This report, prepared for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID), addresses the question: “What models of crisis management exist across Africa and what has the experience been?” More details

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Civil Unrest and Government Transfers in India

IDS Evidence Report 108 (2015)

This paper investigates empirically the role of government expenditure on social services in mitigating and preventing civil unrest (riots) in India. The empirical analysis makes use of a unique longitudinal dataset compiled across the 16 largest Indian states for the period 1960–2011. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Conflict Early Warning and Early Response

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1195 (2015)

This rapid literature review identifies examples of conflict early warning and early response systems, with a focus where possible on cases in the Asia-Pacific. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Grievance Redress Mechanisms in Bangladesh

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1188 (2015)

The rapid literature review identifies literature on types of grievance redress mechanisms (GRM) in Bangladesh. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Lessons from Female Engagement Teams

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1186 (2015)

Female Engagement Teams (FETs), made up of female soldiers, have been used by International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) to engage with women in Afghanistan. This rapid review looks at the open source evidence on the lessons for what worked well with the use of FETs and what were the main challenges More details

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High-Level Roundtable on Political Settlements: Goodenough College, London, 15 October 2014

IDS Evidence Report 105 (2015)

This roundtable was held at Goodenough College, London, on 15 October 2014. Its purpose was to engage high-level policymakers and academics on the relevance of the political settlement lens for the comparative study of political settlements within countries across different time periods and levels. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Social media and conflict management in post-conflict and fragile contexts

GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1184 (2015)

This rapid review identifies recent literature on the role of social media plays in conflict management in post-conflict and fragile contexts. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Contemporary Conflict Analysis of Iraq

This rapid review is based on eleven days of desk-based research and provides a short synthesis of the literature on conflict and peace in Iraq. More details

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Mitigating 'Non-Conflict' Violence by Creating Peaceful Political Settlements

IDS Policy Briefing 81 (2014)

Understanding and addressing ‘non-conflict’ violence is a key challenge for development. Different types of ‘non-conflict’ violence, such as homicide, massacres, armed robbery and gender-based violence, which occur outside of armed conflict contexts involving state or other parties, are not only reflections of social problems like youth unemployment and gang culture. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Impact and Implications of the Ebola Crisis

This rapid literature review looks at the available evidence on the impact of the Ebola crisis on four key areas: political, economic, social, and security. More details

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