Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
This edited volume is the most recent in a series published by the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland that summarizes trends in peace and conflict research, offers reflections on the discipline, and presents new research. The book contains an introduction and 14 chapters divided into sections on advancing research, global patterns and trends, profiles of ongoing civil wars, peacekeeping missions, and international criminal justice proceedings, and a special feature on the link between refugees and conflict in asylum countries. Leading authorities in the field have authored the chapters, and highlight important debates in peace and conflict studies. The chapter on trends in armed conflict, for example, discusses reasons behind a recent uptick in armed conflict, while the chapter on human rights abuses takes on the question of whether bias in human rights abuse reporting may have obscured a general improvement in human rights. The book’s strongest chapter is Chapter 2 (by Donnay, Linke & Bhavnani), which highlights challenges with the recent 'micro' turn in conflict research, including variation in theoretical bases, empirical strategies, and methodological approaches. If left unaddressed, these challenges can lead to divergent findings on ostensibly similar questions, with unclear reasons for favoring one finding over another. The chapter’s authors suggest one way to address these challenges: establishing discipline-wide consistent empirical bases for micro-level research. They then highlight practical tools through which to construct these bases. In short, Peace and Conflict 2017 provides expert descriptive analysis of many of the most important trends in conflict, and will be of interest to both peace and conflict scholars and more general audiences.