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. Each armed conflict evolves in distinct ways.
In some cases, non-state actors proliferate due to the fragmentation of existing groups, while others manifest processes of homogenisation. Some long-running conflicts have remained relatively constant in how they have been fought, whereas others have developed rapidly by increasingly relying on new technologies. Some conflicts have pushed towards and across borders, some have become urbanised, while others have moved into the cyberspace. Change also varies across space: both across regions and across conflicts within the same country. Finally, change in conflict is shaped by local cultures, yet embedded in shifting geopolitics, characterised by great power politics and a reshuffling of the balance of power through the (re-) emergence of new players.
Changes in violent conflict often appear bewildering and they remain under-researched. Security policies continue to adopt reactive approaches rather than anticipating new scenarios. The conflict platform project provides a novel tool and language to analyse these changes in a nuanced and forward-looking manner.