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Brief interview with Head of Varieties of Peace Program Anna Jarstad

Why is there a need for research on peace?

Surprisingly, peace researchers have not focused on peace. The majority of articles in the field are on conflict and security. Our aim is to change this picture. Our vision is to stimulate research in a new field of inquiry. We do not know enough about the transitions from war to peace and what peace really is. That is why our program is needed.

What makes the program unique?

Wars used to end with victory or defeat. Since the 1990s, peace agreements have become increasingly common. We now for the first time in history have the possibility of studying long-term processes after such negotiated settlements. These settlements do not declare any party as defeated, but build on compromises and require political reforms.

In contrast to much previous research, we study peace as a process.

Many quantitative studies on peace define it as absence of war and focus on a short post-war periods, from months to at the most 5 years. We employ a long-term perspective of 20-30 years. This allows us to see peace as a process that can continue even despite some violence.

This long-term approach means that we will analyze how peace varies over 20-30 years in each case. It requires in-depth qualitative studies.

Adopting a long-term perspective does not only mean that we analyze a longer time period, but also that we can analyze the sequencing of peace processes. We can also study how the legacies of the past plays in.

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