Working Papers


by Andrey Makarychev, University of Tartu This working paper proposes a cultural reading of security, focussing on Russia as a case study. Following Alexander Wendt’s logic of “cultures of anarchy”, the paper treats the sphere of security as generative of cultural meanings constitutive for international actors’ identities. It is through discourses and images that different


Ethical and Methodological Research Considerations in Insecure Places

by Sam Vincent This document summarises the final Security in Transition programme Field Research Ethics and Methodology workshop held at the London School of Economics on 17 October, 2016. As with previous workshops, the substance of the presentations and discussion focused on the ethical and methodological questions raised in the course of conducting research on


Global Security Cultures: A Theoretical Framework for analysing Security in Transition

This paper introduces the concept of security cultures as a theoretical framework to enable scholars to make sense of the competing ideas and practices that currently characterise the field of security.


From Hybrid Peace to Human Security: Rethinking EU Strategy towards Conflict

The Berlin Report of the Human Security Study Group - Presented to the European External Action Service, 24 February 2016, Brussels

‘All these Outsiders Shouted Louder Than Us’: Civil Society Engagement with Transitional Justice in Uganda

This paper examines civil society interactions with transitional justice in Uganda. It argues that the role of civil society in transitional justice is more complex, and often more circumscribed, than many commentators and practitioners expect. Because of pressures from the state, foreign donors and international civil society, Ugandan civil society has often struggled to maintain a coherent and effective voice on transitional justice matters.


Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Kenya

In late 2007, Kenya held presidential elections, whose results were hotly contested, with allegations of fraud. Serious violence followed, some spontaneous, some pre-planned, and some retaliatory. An internationally-brokered agreement followed, creating a power-sharing arrangement between the presidential contestants and a commission of inquiry into the violence. Throughout the violence, civil society actors played a critical role, first monitoring the election, then recording the violence, and pressing for accountability measures.


Civil Society and Transitional Justice in the Balkans: Three Models of Interaction

The role of civil society actors is critical in a host of transitional justice processes. And yet, transitional justice is often approached and examined in a top-down manner that renders the agency of civil society invisible. This paper starts from the premise that the character of transitional justice depends to a large extent on the ways in which civil society actors use, adapt, develop, and contest justice norms and structures. And the other way round: transitional justice processes may have significant impact on civil society. The paper develops an analytical framework for examining different forms of engagement of civil society actors in transitional justice processes in the Balkans, which may be useful for further research on the region as well as comparative work.


Countering the logic of the war economy in Syria; evidence from three local areas

Within four years of the armed conflict that followed the Syria uprising, the Syrian economy has been reordered into a new decentralised, fragmented and regionally and globally connected economy, in which the main economic activities depend on violence and violence depends on those same economic activities.


ISIL, JAN and the war economy in Syria

This paper is based on original empirical research drawing on interviews with a range of respondents who live both inside and outside ISIL held areas in Syria. It explores how the collapse of the state and the spread of the war economy enable ISIL’s expansion and JAN’s infiltration in Syria. ISIL has developed a comprehensive model for running a proto-state, a model that includes governance and the provision of public services; for example, a judiciary system, policing, education, an army, an ideology and intelligence. The war has also destroyed the local legitimate economy, especially in opposition-controlled areas, and has led to the rise of illicit economy that is centred on violence. The extremely high levels of unemployment, together with very high prices and the absence of other sources of income, has left men of fighting age, who typically have to provide for their families, in a very exposed position and vulnerable to recruitment by extreme organisations.


Investigating the Role of Legitimacy in the Political Order of Conflict-torn Spaces

Conflict-affected spaces that are far from exhibiting a Weberian monopoly of the legitimate use of force have been categorised as ‘fragile’ and ‘failed’ states for years. However, there is a growing tendency to understand conflicts as a form of order and to adapt the definition of statehood accordingly. But while the post-Weberian approaches indeed help to overcome some of the flaws of the dominant understanding of statehood, they do not substantively consider the role of legitimacy. The statebuilding discourse illustrates the problematic implications of the limited understanding of legitimacy on the policy level. In response, this paper suggests in line with post-Weberian scholars to understand political order as a field with multiple authorities but to consider both force and legitimacy as sources underpinning obedience to social control.