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Peace and conflict research conducted at INTERACT

At INTERACT, we do problem- and policy-oriented basic research on issues of peace and conflict. Our research bridges different disciplines, methods and levels of analysis. At the basis of this interdisciplinary approach is our understanding of peace and conflict as processes rather than as fixed states. Through context-sensitive, empirical research, we aim to contribute to their better understanding and thus to theory development in the field of peace and conflict research.

Peace and conflict cannot be understood within the confines of nation-states. Local conflict dynamics are always related to global ones and vice versa. Political, social, legal and economic parameters must be considered in their interconnectedness. Violent confrontations and non-violent forms of conflict resolution are often not clearly distinguishable, also because it is often disputed what counts as violence.

Our understanding of conflict is processual and relational: Violent conflicts cannot be explained solely by material relations of inequality or by structurally or ideologically determined conflicts of interest. Rather, the genesis, settlement and resolution of violent conflicts must be understood as volatile and multilayered negotiation processes in different social, economic and institutional arenas, involving a multitude of political and social actors. Furthermore, conflicts need to be contextualized in terms of their legal configuration, historical significance, and their embeddedness in social, cultural, and legal processes of interpretation. The development of a deep understanding of these complex conflict constellations is at the center of our work.

INTERACT draws on and systematically integrates insights from a variety of disciplines. The multifaceted nature of knowledge production about conflict, as well as a diverse and flexible methodological repertoire, are fundamental to our research on conflict, violence and peace processes. By adopting a cross-disciplinary and multimethods perspective on conflict, we aim to consider the variety of experiences of violence and conflict, and the ways in which they can be represented.

INTERACT aims to intervene into contemporary socio-political debates through policy-oriented basic research. Our understanding of academic knowledge production is critical and reflexive. On the one hand, our research critically reflects on the power relations and global knowledge orders, in which peace and conflict research and its action-guiding findings are embedded. On the other hand, it supports informed political decision-making, sustainable and constructive conflict management and resolution through meticulous empirical analyses.