Current research project

“Peacekeeping in the Digital Age: Communication Strategies and Local Inclusion”

It is now widely recognized that the success of peacekeeping operations depends heavily on the way the mission is perceived and supported by the local population. Whether the population regards the mission as legitimate decides whether they are willing to accept the proposed measures and to cooperate with the armed forces. In order to establish the needed support, secure control over information and win local cooperation, every peacekeeping mission is in need of public diplomacy to communicate with stakeholders and the broader public.

The emergence of social media will offer valuable opportunities in this regard. Today, the UN, its departments and sub-organizations maintain 54 social media accounts on various platforms and nine of the current 12 peacekeeping operations use social media to communicate with the public. Research is needed with regard to the extent to which these new communication channels can contribute to increased interactions between armed forces and local population, which is essential for the success of peace missions. The primary research objective of this project is thus to answer the following two overarching research questions: Which factors explain the variation in social media use by peacekeeping missions? Which communication strategies are mostly used by social media accounts of UN peacekeeping operations?

Book Project

“Patterns of Sustaining Peace: The Complex Impact of Peacebuilding Institutions in Post-Conflict Societies”

Working Paper

Third-party interventions and armed conflicts: a closer look at causal patterns and dependencies“

Which combinations of international interventions are sufficient for the effective management of violence against civilians? Recent research in the civil war literature has focused on how and when external actors intervene and what influence these interventions might have on conflict termination or peacebuilding success. What is still missing, however, is a systematic analysis of the interaction between different types of intervention and their consequences for the civilian population and the establishment of stable peace. This paper aims at filling this research gap by performing a set-theoretic analysis on the influence of four types of third-party interventions on the establishment of stable peace: sanctions and sieges, mediation and diplomatic missions, peace operations, and development aid. The universe of cases consists of 113 peacebuilding episodes after armed conflicts and civil wars that ended between 1989 and 2010. With the results of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) it is possible to reveal the dynamics and dependencies existing between various forms of third-party interventions. As the results demonstrate, externally driven interventions are more successful in establishing stable peace and preventing atrocities against civilians, when operating conjoined. Causal complexity is acknowledged by the fact that the intervention patterns differ significantly when breaking down the analysis according to conflict termination types. Thus, the paper adds to the current debate by depicting causal patterns of international conflict resolution and the conjunctural effects of international interventions for the establishment of stable peace.

“Pathways to peace: uncovering the mechanisms underlying successful post-conflict peacebuilding”

Which peacebuilding institutions are necessary and sufficient for sustainable peace and how do they exert their influence? Recent peacebuilding literature focuses on the many institutional options available to strengthen a fragile post-conflict peace and emphasizes the types of institutions, which increase the likelihood that conflict will not resume. What is still missing, however, is substantial knowledge about the interaction of these factors and the dynamics and mechanisms resulting in post-conflict peace. This paper aims at narrowing this research gab by, first, performing a set-theoretic analysis on the influence of four institutional peacebuilding options on post-conflict peace: the level of international commitment, the comprehensiveness of transitional justice initiatives, the degree of power-sharing, and the comprehensiveness of security sector reform (SSR). Case selection is global and based on 51 peacebuilding episodes after armed conflicts that ended with a peace agreement between 1989 and 2010. The QCA results illustrate different mechanisms of successful peacebuilding and highlight dependencies between different institutions. In the second part, the paper takes a closer look at typical and deviant cases and discusses options for case selection for additional process tracing. By means of comparative case studies it is possible to discern causal peacebuilding mechanisms and address the puzzles behind deviant cases.

“The more (not always) the merrier: the hidden mechanisms of power sharing institutions and their influence on durable peace”

Is the combination of several different types of power sharing provisions the key to stable peace? In their groundbreaking article, Hartzell and Hoddie (2003) find that the more dimensions of power sharing institutions (political, economic, territorial, or military) are specified in a peace agreement, the higher is the likelihood that peace will last. However, their study uses a composite measure of power sharing and thus does not tell us anything about the effects of different combinations of power sharing provisions on the prospect of peace. Hence, the results might conceal underlying mechanisms between the various provisions. In order to shed some light onto those mechanisms, this paper re-analyzes the original data considered in Hartzell’s and Hoddie’s (2007) study: 49 civil wars resolved by negotiated settlements between 1945 and 1999, including up to four different forms of power sharing. This data is subsequently tested in a set-theoretic research design by means of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The outcome (peace endurance) and the four causal conditions (political, territorial, military, and economic power sharing) are calibrated along the operationalization of the dependent and independent variables used in the original study by Hartzell and Hoddie (2007) in order to ensure comparability of the results. The QCA results illustrate different mechanisms active within multifaceted power sharing arrangements and highlight dependencies between different provisions. In sum, this paper updates the results found by Hartzell and Hoddie (2003) by offering new insights into the different combinations of power sharing provisions sufficient for durable peace.

“The post-conflict peace scale: conceptualizing peace in the aftermath of violent conflict”

What are the components of post-conflict peace and how can they be measured? So far, international studies have mainly focused on the study of war or armed conflicts, thereby neglecting peace as a phenomenon worth of serious investigation. Peace is usually defined as the absence of war. But this narrow definition is insufficient and includes a large variation within the category of “non-war”. In contrast, broader conceptions of positive peace are not suitable for studies dealing with the aftermath of violent conflicts. Thus, there is a need for more conceptual clarity and better subnational indicators for the measurement of post-conflict peace. This paper identifies those concepts commonly used for the analysis of post-conflict peace or peacebuilding. Most of these standards are problematic when dealing with countries that just emerged from armed conflict or civil war. Thus, there is a need for more conceptual clarity and better indicators for the measurement of post-conflict peace. This paper aims at helping to narrow this research gap by 1) establishing the criteria to define the various stages of peace in war-torn societies and by 2) presenting indicators for the measurement of a new concept of post-conflict peace.

Other Projects

“The empirical effects of United Nations Simulations in Political Science Classrooms. An empirical study at different level of complexity”. With Samantha Ruppel