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Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Political Violence, States and Geopolitics

The multiple relationships between political violence, states and wider geopolitical structures at various levels are at the core of this strand.

Making use of the concept of ‘political space’ it is concerned with the interface between political violence broadly defined and practices of humanitarian intervention, development aid and security assistance.

Research strands

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In analysing those dynamics from a political-economy perspective it seeks to contribute to the development of critical humanitarian scholarship. It is equally interested in the political implications of humanitarian aid and the use of the military to enforce humanitarian norms visible for example in the 'Responsibility to Protect' debate.

In addition this strand interrogates the interface between political violence and medicine, with one particular focus on psychiatric and psychological interventions in both, conflict situations and in the state militaries that intervene in or produce conflict.

Another area of interest centres on the ways in which states and other actors, for example revolutionary movements, define the causes of and respond to or create political violence, and how violence and other patterns of local and global political economies interact with the spread of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS.

This research also interrogates dynamics of militarisation in historical perspective, surveillance, the notion of ‘civil resilience’ as well as work on state-making and post-conflict patterns of governance.

Academic staff

Rony Brauman, Tim Jacoby, Rubina Jasani, Tanja Müller, Jenny Petersen and Emilie Combaz.

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PhD candidates

Caroline Delgado, Diane Tang, Gosia Malgozota and Zoe Gan Rankin.

Key publications and resources

  • Brauman, Rony (2009) Humanitaire, diplomatie et droits de l'homme, préface de Tzvetan Todorov. Paris: Editions du Cygne.
  • Howell, Alison (2010) Sovereignty, Security, Psychiatry: Liberation and the Failure of Mental Health Governance in Iraq. Security Dialogue 41(4): 347-67. 
  • Jacoby, Tim (2008) Understanding Con´Čéict and Violence: Interdisciplinary and Theoretical Approaches. London: Routledge. 
  • Jasani, Rubina (2011) A game of hide and seek: gendered ethnographies of the everyday state after communal violence in Ahmedabad, Western India. Contemporary South Asia 19(3): 249-262.
  • Müller, Tanja (2005) The Making of Elite Women. Revolution and Nation Building in Eritrea. Boston and Leiden: Brill Publishers.