Measuring Peace: Principles, Practices and Politics

Measuring Peace: Principles, Practices and Politics

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - 5:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Richard Caplan (Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford)
John Alderdice (Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict (CRIC))
Jessie Barton Hronesova (Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford)
Neil MacFarlane (Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford)
Andrea Ruggeri (Centre for International Studies (CIS))

Panel discussion

How can we know if the peace that has been established following a civil war is a stable peace? More than half of all countries that experienced civil war since World War II have suffered a relapse into violent conflict, in some cases more than once. Meanwhile the international community expends billions of dollars and deploys tens of thousands of personnel each year in support of efforts to build peace in countries emerging from violent conflict.

This book argues that efforts to build peace are hampered by the lack of effective means of assessing progress towards the achievement of a consolidated peace. Rarely, if ever, do peacebuilding organizations and governments seek to ascertain the quality of the peace that they are helping to build and the contribution that their engagement is making (or not) to the consolidation of peace. More rigorous assessments of the robustness of peace are needed. These assessments require clarity about the characteristics of, and the requirements for, a stable peace. This in turn requires knowledge of the local culture, local history, and the specific conflict dynamics at work in a given conflict situation. Better assessment can inform peacebuilding actors in the reconfiguration and reprioritization of their operations in cases where conditions on the ground have deteriorated or improved. To build a stable peace, it is argued here, it is important to take the measure of peace.

Richard Caplan is Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for International Studies (CIS), and a Fellow of Linacre College. His principal research interests are concerned with international organisations and conflict management, with a particular focus on peacekeeping and 'post-conflict' peace- and state-building. He is the author and editor of several books, among them Europe's New Nationalism: States and Minorities in Conflict (Oxford University Press, 1996); A New Trusteeship? The International Administration of War-torn Territories (IISS/Routledge, 2002); Europe and the Recognition of New States in Yugoslavia (Cambridge University Press, 2005); International Governance of War-torn Territories: Rule and Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2005); and Exit Strategies and State Building (Oxford University Press, 2012). 

His most recent research has been concerned with how leading peacebuilding organizations differ in their understandings of the characteristics of and requirements for a consolidated peace, and the implications that these differences have for the formulation and implementation of coherent peacebuilding strategies. The project has focussed on the technical, organisational, and political challenges of devising operational measures of effectiveness, in particular measures of progress towards the achievement of a consolidated peace. His research in this area culminated with a book manuscript that he completed recently under contract for Oxford University Press titled Measuring Peace: Principles, Practices, and Politics (forthcoming 2019).

Prof Caplan has held fellowships and received grants from the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Leverhulme Trust, the US Institute of Peace, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. He has held visiting positions at SciencesPo (Paris), the University of Konstanz, Princeton University, and the European University Institute (EUI).

In association with Centre for International Studies (CIS)

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