MICROCON is a five-year European Commission-funded research programme, taking an innovative micro level, multidisciplinary approach to studying the conflict cycle. It will promote understanding of individual and group interactions leading to and resulting from violent mass conflicts, aiming to better inform conflict policy and place individuals and groups at the centre of interventions.
At a fundamental level, conflict originates from individuals’ behaviour and their interactions with their surroundings – from its ‘micro’ foundations. However, most programmes tackling conflict are driven by regional, national and international perspectives. This makes inadequate concession to the role of individual and group interactions leading to or resulting from violent conflicts, and their links with social norms that encourage some groups to be violent, while discouraging others. MICROCON seeks to redress this balance.
MICROCON will advance the conflict agenda on two levels. At the conceptual level the programme will develop a multidisciplinary framework to understand individual and group interactions, and how these interactions are affected by conflict. This framework will draw on anthropology, cultural studies, demography, development studies, economics, epidemiology, ethnography, history, international relations, political science, psychology, sociology and statistics, as well as several sub-disciplines within these.
The programme will go beyond merely reactive theorisations of conflict to look at the complete dynamics (across intensities, actors, triggers and effects) of violent mass conflicts. It will also examine unexplored datasets, and conduct survey instruments to build new datasets. At the operational level, the project will lay the foundations for the development of a new European multidisciplinary research agenda in conflict analysis and policy.
MICROCON is a programme that has grown out of the Households in Conflict Network.