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“File:Kaart van het beleg van Breda, 1624 Circulus obsidionis nostrae complectitur ambitu supra quatuor milliaria Equitatus (titel op object), RP-P-OB-81.085.jpg” by Rijksmuseum is licensed under CC0 1.0

Drawing on a variety of different sources ranging from…


… we bring together expertise, approaches and methods in ways not normally combined in conflict research.

We integrate… order to promote dialogue between quantitative and qualitative studies and across diverse epistemologies.

With an inter-disciplinary team of researchers and a novel approach, this project explores the changes in the character of conflict. The conflict platform pays particular attention to changes in five dimensions of change: actors involved in conflict, impact of conflict on civilians, environments in which conflict takes place, methods used in conflict, and resources that drive conflict. One of the major objectives of the project is to create a knowledge-based platform for academics, practitioners, policy-makers and the wider public to understand the changing character of conflict. This project is particularly important in the light of the world’s constantly changing security landscape.

The multidisciplinary approach in methods and sources allows us to contrast how societies in which everyday life is shaped by violence perceive changes to, from and within armed conflict on the one hand, with externally imposed categories, on the other hand.

The distinctive understanding of change in conflict that we develop is based on an innovative interdisciplinary conceptual framework which combines unique perspectives on change across (1) time, (2) space and (3) cultures.

1. The temporal scope is from the fourteenth century to the present to account for long-term patterns in conflict. Most of the current research on post-1945 conflicts is dominated by “Western” models of the state or international law; contingent on a specific historical context which itself is dynamic. Our historical view adopted through archival research facilitates more timeless constructs of universal validity.

2. The spatial scope is “glocal”. We combine a bottom-up approach with micro-perspectives on conflict obtained through ethnographic fieldwork, with the statistical analysis of large cross-country trends to embed local “non-Western” voices in contexts of shifting global power relations.

3. The perspective on culture accounts for perceptions of change and changes in perceptions by analysing representations of conflict in visual artwork and interpreting novel forms of visualisation of change in conflict with sense technology. Such an approach reinforces the nuanced picture of change and helps account for the visual renaissance that is taking place in our technology-driven Information Age.

Recognising that environments of armed conflicts change over time, the project deliberately focuses on settings of organised violence rather than countries. The environment affected by violence is expanding and contracting over time and often does not correspond with the state borders. To account for these changes, we develop a new unit of analysis called SORVI which conceptualizes conflict as multi-actor and everchanging. SORVI allows the analysis of conflict changes in time and space and is applicable to current as well as historical conflicts.