Kristian Hoelscher

Senior Researcher

Kristian Hoelscher
Work phone: +47 22 54 77 79
Mobile phone: +47 40 29 79 31

Research Interests

Kristian is a senior researcher at PRIO. His research interests lie at the intersection of urbanisation, governance, and conflict, with crosscutting themes including migration, demography, and environmental change. ​Past and current research has focused on: the political dimensions of urban crime and social violence in Brazil and Latin America; urban governance in India; urban security and migration in Europe and Norway; environmental change, migration and violence in South Asia; and youth and political violence. 

Kristian holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oslo and an MSc. in Population and Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds a BA in Business, and a BSc (Hons.) in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Languages spoken:

English, Norwegian. Basic Portuguese and Spanish.


Recent publications

Hoelscher, Kristian; Hanne Cecilie Geirbo; Ingrid Nytun Christie; Lisbet Harboe & Sobah Abbas Petersen (2016) Hvilken vei skal byene gå? [Which Way Will Cities Go?], Dagsavisen.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) En beretning om fremtidens byer [On the Future of Cities], Ny Tid.

All publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora & Kristian Hoelscher (2017) The Reframing of the War on Drugs as a “Humanitarian Crisis”: Costs, Benefits and Attendant Consequences, Latin American Perspectives (Forthcoming).
Hoelscher, Kristian (2016) The Evolution of the Smart Cities Agenda in India, International Area Studies Review 19(1): 28–44.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Rumi Aijaz (2016) Challenges and Opportunities in an Urbanising India, International Area Studies Review 19(1): 1–9.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Enzo Nussio (2016) Understanding Unlikely Successes in Urban Violence Reduction, Urban Studies. DOI: 10.1177/0042098015589892.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Darkness in the City of Light: The Paris Attacks and Urban Security in Europe, Harvard International Review.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Politics and Social Violence in Developing Democracies: Theory and Evidence from Brazil, Political Geography 44(1): 29–39.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Per Martin Norheim-Martinsen (2014) Urban violence and the militarisation of security: Brazilian ‘peacekeeping’ in Rio de Janeiro and Port-au-Prince, Small Wars and Insurgencies 25(5): 957–975.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2014) A Tale of New Cities, Harvard International Review 36(1): 13–18.
Carling, Jørgen & Kristian Hoelscher (2013) The Capacity and Desire to Remit: Comparing Local and Transnational Influences, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39(6): 939–958.
Urdal, Henrik & Kristian Hoelscher (2012) Explaining Urban Social Disorder and Violence: An Empirical Study of Event Data from Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, International Interactions 38(4): 512–528.
Fox, Sean & Kristian Hoelscher (2012) Political Order, Development and Social Violence, Journal of Peace Research 49(3): 431–444.
Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian; & Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati (2012) Hearts and Mines: A District-level Analysis of the Maoist Conflict in India, International Area Studies Review 15(2): 141–160.
Carney, Scott;Miklian, Jason; & Hoelscher, Kristian (2011) Fortress India , Foreign Policy .

Book Chapter

Hoelscher, Kristian & Jason Miklian (2013) The violence of migration from Bangladesh to India, in Miklian, Jason; & Åshild Kolås, eds, India's Human Security: Lost Debates, Forgotten People, Intractable Challenges. London: Routledge (103–121).

Non-refereed Journal Article

Jumbert, Maria Gabrielsen; Kristian Hoelscher; Benjamin de Carvalho & Pinar Tank (2014) Brazil: An Aspiring Global Power, Government Gazette.
Miklian, Jason; & Hoelscher, Kristian (2011) Fort India , Innsikt .

Popular Article

Hoelscher, Kristian; Hanne Cecilie Geirbo; Ingrid Nytun Christie; Lisbet Harboe & Sobah Abbas Petersen (2016) Hvilken vei skal byene gå? [Which Way Will Cities Go?], Dagsavisen.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) En beretning om fremtidens byer [On the Future of Cities], Ny Tid.
Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) Is The War on Drugs a Humanitarian Crisis?, ATHA.SE.
Miklian, Jason; Kristian Hoelscher & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2016) What makes a country dangerous for aid workers?, The Guardian.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2015) Angrepene i Paris kan få enorme konsekvenser for europeiske storbyer [Paris attacks can have enourmous consequences for European cities], Aftenposten.
Norheim-Martinsen, Per Martin & Kristian Hoelscher (2014) Kan ditt nabolag få urban krigføring à la Ferguson? [Could your neighbourhood see urban warfare à la Ferguson?], Aftenposten.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2014) Selvmål i Brasil [An Own Goal in Brazil], Aftenposten.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Jason Miklian (2014) Kontroversiell og hardtslående [Controversial and Hardhitting], Dagsavisen.
Miklian, Jason & Kristian Hoelscher (2013) Government Quells Maoist Rebellion in West Bengal, New York Times.

PRIO Report

Hoelscher, Kristian; Katherine Edelen; Jason Miklian; Silje Holen; Joyeeta Bhattacharjee; Line Barkved; Farzana Jahan; Hari Bansh Jha; & Åshild Kolås (2013) Water Scarcity in Bangladesh. Transboundary Rivers, Conflict and Cooperation, PRIO Report, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Conference Paper

Urdal, Henrik; Kristian Hoelscher & Halvard Buhaug (2012) Does Urbanization Lead to More Peace? Rural-Urban Age Structure Differentials and Civil War, presented at The Annual convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, 1–4 April.
Urdal, Henrik; & Hoelscher, Kristian 2008 Urban Youth Bulges and Social Disorder: An Empirical Study of Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, presented at Conference on ‘Youth Exclusion and Political Violence: Breaking the Link and Engaging Young People Positively in Development’, , 4–5 December.

PRIO Policy Brief

Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora & Kristian Hoelscher (2016) Is the War on Drugs a “Humanitarian Crisis”?, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Understanding Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers, Conflict Trends, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

Hoelscher, Kristian; & Fox, Sean (2010) The Political Economy of Social Violence: Theory and Evidence from a Cross-Country Study, Crisis States Working Paper Series, 72. : .
Urdal, Henrik; & Hoelscher, Kristian (2009) Urban Youth Bulges and Social Disorder: An Empirical Study of Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, Policy Research Working Paper, 110. : .

Book Review

Hoelscher, Kristian (2013) Review of Favarel-Garrigues, Gilles; & Jean-Louis Briquet, eds, Organised Crime and States: The Hidden Face of Politics, in Journal of Peace Research 50(1): 138–138.
Hoelscher, Kristian (2013) Review of Goldstein, Daniel M ; & Enrique Desmond Arias, eds, Violent Democracies in Latin America, in Journal of Peace Research 50(1): 137–137.

Blog Posts

Is The War on Drugs a Humanitarian Crisis?

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik & Kristian Hoelscher on Friday, 18 March 2016

Humanitarian actors increasingly look to frame the failure of the War on Drugs as an imperative for renewed engagement in Latin America. When leaders meet at UNGASS 2016 in April, legalization will be central in discussions, but issues of humanitarian encroachment should also be on the table. In Latin America, the four-decade long War on Drugs has had devastating impacts on the health, safety and wellbeing of rural communities, and imposed de facto states of siege in heavily militarized urban areas where government forces engage narco-trafficking groups. In reflecting on the legacies of disappearances, murders and displacement, the Drug Policy ...

Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers: Five New Findings

Posted by Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Tuesday, 1 December 2015

More aid workers are being targeted in violent attacks than ever before, but the roots of humanitarian insecurity have nuanced and surprising causes. Syria. Afghanistan. Mali. Central African Republic. Today’s complex conflicts seem to be defined by insurgents, terrorist groups and other violent actors with ideologies that increasingly disregard the rules of war. Over 150,000 people died in conflicts around the world last year, with a further 59 million displaced – the highest total ever recorded. Troublingly, aid worker attacks have increased in tandem. Headlines relay stories of humanitarian aid workers caught in the middle, killed either in the fog of war – or ...

Paris Attacks may have Consequences for European Cities

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 16 November 2015

Attacks in Paris show how urban security challenges are becoming more complex. They ask difficult questions and present no easy answers. Friday’s attacks in Paris were an alarming reminder of the threats of organised violence in European cities. This comes less than a year after the assault against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and days after similar attacks in Beirut, in Lebanon, and Sinai, in Egypt. The coordinated events in the French capital were quickly linked with islamic terrorist groups, with ISIS on Saturday claiming responsibility. In response, the French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency, implemented curfews ...

A Tale of New Cities: The Future of Urban Planning in the Developing World

Posted by Jason Miklian & Kristian Hoelscher on Friday, 27 June 2014

The global shift from rural to urban living will be the most important demographic transformation of the 21st century. All great shifts create the opportunity for great fortunes, especially for those with audacious visions who are positioned to capitalize on them. Indian industrialist Ajit Gulabchand runs Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), which is responsible for some of the country’s most iconic infrastructure projects. In what might be the single biggest bet in the history of Indian real estate, Gulabchand has staked HCC’s future – and his own family fortune – on a cluster of five planned cities perched along artificial fjords ...

An Own Goal in Brazil

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 16 June 2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff must see off two fast gaining rivals to win reelection in October. Problems during the World Cup might end up being be her political downfall. With the World Cup underway, the eyes of the world are on the football in Brazil. Off the field though, the focus has been on violence in the country’s cities and the wave of protests that started last summer. Protesters took to the streets over the lack essential investment in health, education, transport, and other critical areas of need in Brazilian society, and how this contrasted with the exorbitant sums spent ...

Electing India's Future

Posted by Jason Miklian & Kristian Hoelscher on Monday, 12 May 2014

In April, 800 hundred million people began casting their ballots all across India in the largest election the world has ever seen. When we think of voting in India, we often picture a poor elderly villager showing a big ink-stained thumb and boasting a wide smile as proof of democracy in action. But elections in today’s India mean big money, big ideas and a growing focus on big urban centers as the drivers of development that will continue to catapult it from a 20th century agrarian laggard to a 21st century global power. ​India’s electorate is bigger than all of ...

An Urban Century: Which Direction should Cities take?

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher, Hanne Cecilie Geirbo, Ingrid Nytun Christie, Lisbet Harboe & Sobah Abbas Petersen on Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador this week is the most important meeting on cities and development in decades. It will shape the urban agenda of the 21st century. It is now well-known that the world is more urban than rural, with the challenges of 21st century urbanisation firmly on the agenda. In Quito, Ecuador’s capital, the contrasting opportunities and challenges of cities are fully on display – vibrant and exciting culture, choking pollution, snarling traffic, and prosperity and insecurity varying dramatically between neighborhoods. And it is in Quito this week that these and other challenges will be taken ...

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