Gewalt und Entwicklung

Violence Research and Development
A Project to Advance Comparative Research on Conflict and Violence, to Promote Networking of Violence Researchers, and to Support Young Academics

Short Description of the Project

Intra-societal violence is a major problem in many transformation and developing countries, and one of the biggest obstacles to sustainable development and democracy. However, many countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East – especially those most affected by violence – have no properly institutionalized academic violence research capable of providing guidance for violence control and conflict transformation. Consequently violence research is often conducted by international organizations, development agencies and universities in North America and Europe, but lacks legitimacy and acceptance in the developing countries themselves. Where local violence research exists, it often lacks the multilateral networking required to exploit its full potential and contribute adequately to the international debate. Locally, it remains at a level too rudimentary to allow reflective public discussion of problems and countermeasures. The pilot project “Violence Research and Development”, an initiative of the International Centre for Violence Research (ICVR), aims to tackle this deficit. The ICVR has been established as a scientific collaboration platform to bundle existing interest in international comparative violence research, to overcome widespread weaknesses and deficits in this field, and to raise violence research to a higher level in multilateral collaboration with international colleagues. It runs under the auspices of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) at Bielefeld University.

Violence Research and Development

“Violence Research and Development” integrates higher education capacity development in violence research and multilateral comparative research in order to empower academics and institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East to contribute to international violence research, publish their findings nationally and internationally, and ultimately develop scientifically grounded political and civil-society responses. The pilot project, which is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), creates productive synergy by bringing together multilateral cooperation and networking, comparative research, and capacity development. All of the program’s elements contribute to these goals. In particular, they enhance violence research by supporting universities in transformation and developing countries, stimulate knowledge transfer among actors in many regions of the world through exchanges of postgraduates and researchers, and consolidate research through multilateral comparative analyses.

Multilateral Comparative Research

The promotion of multilateral comparative research is central to the “Violence Research and Development” project. The ICVR will develop multilateral research projects allowing postgraduates to put their newly acquired skills to use in joint projects in three research areas: “political violence”, “urban and criminal violence”, and “gender, violence, and socialization”. The research projects will help students to develop their careers, expand their abilities, and make their own contribution to international violence research. About eight students per country/region will be employed as junior researchers to cover their expenses for field research. In each researcher’s project, a thematic connection to the research of collaborating institutions and research groups in other countries will ensure that the comparative potential of such an international project is maximized. International conferences will provide an opportunity for coordinating and evaluating the projects of the research groups. Together with the other elements of capacity-building and multilateral cooperation, these collaborative research projects will create a first building block for truly inter-national violence research.

Multilateral Networking

Multilateral networking is the precondition for learning from one another. The expansion of networks and partnerships offers an opportunity for multilateral cooperation between research institutions in the Global North and South in order to raise the academic standards of all involved and contribute to intercultural understanding. In addition, international networking enhances the local status of researchers and can potentially be used to generate international public attention. To drive networking, the collaborating institutions will invite internationally renowned guest lecturers and professors, and researchers from the regions will be offered the possibility to come to the ICVR to hold lectures, co-organize conferences, teach, and develop projects. The participating postgraduates will be given the opportunity to attend workshops and training events at Bielefeld University or at one of the cooperating institutions and the ICVR will regularly organize and initiate regional and international conferences for the exchange of scientific findings and discussion of training at different locations. The ICVR will also establish an online platform providing data on people, institutions, and research projects in the field to facilitate long-term international collaboration. This database will also contain teaching and research materials relating to different forms of violence.

Higher Education Development

Higher education development is indispensable for capacity-building in the partner countries. Thus partnerships will be sought with collaborating institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The first of these, with universities in Egypt, El Salvador, Nigeria, Pakistan and Peru, are under way. One means of capacity development is qualifying the participating junior researchers. The ICVR will systematically promote training, provide expert advice, offer targeted qualification measures, and give opportunities for advancement via international training exchanges. It will also support the partner institutions in setting up international PhD programs in violence research. To address gender and age bias particular support will be given to women and early-career researchers. A mentoring program for academic writing will strengthen the writing and publication skills of postgraduates and teaching staff participating in the project.

Research Lines

Comparative Research is organized into three research areas and six research lines. The research areas Political Violence, Urban & Criminal Violence and Violence, Gender & Socialization serve as a basic structure to systematize research topics, and they provide an organizational framework for publishing activities. Six research lines represent important research topics, both under a scientific as well as under a political point of view. In each research area, two lines of research will be explored multilaterally, co-operatively and comparatively by a research team of up to five junior researchers from Egypt, El Salvador, Nigeria, Pakistan and Peru, for a period of 16 months.

Political Violence: Urban and Criminal Violence Violence, Gender, and Socialization The Project Team

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heitmeyer (Uni Bielefeld), Prof. Dr. Peter Imbusch (Uni Wuppertal) Dr. Sebastian Huhn, Boris Wilke M.A. Sina Birkholz, Rosario Figari-Layus, Ciaran Wrons-Passmann


Art des Projekts / Förderung:
International vergleichendes Forschungsprojekt / BMZ

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