GIGA scholars Dr. André Bank and Dr. Alexander de Juan have been awarded the Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award for their findings on the Syria conflict.
The award winners André Bank (top right) and Alexander De Juan (bottom right); main photo © REUTERS/ Bassam Khabieh
Hamburg, 29 Feb. 2016. GIGA scholars Dr. André Bank and Dr. Alexander de Juan have been awarded the Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award for their findings on the Syria conflict. The prize recognises outstanding research that has appeared in the influential Journal of Peace Research. In their January 2015 article “The Ba'athist blackout? Selective goods provision and political violence in the Syrian civil war,” the two researchers demonstrated that in the early phase of the Syrian civil war there was a connection between the spatial distribution of public services such as electricity and the geographical patterns of political violence.
In its explanation of the decision, the jury praised the “high degree of methodological sophistication and rigour” as well as the “mixture of quantitative and qualitative evidence” used to support an “interesting proposition.” “I’m very pleased about this award – and about the jury’s reasons for granting it,” said André Bank, who has worked at the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies since March 2010. “Our article shows what types of new results can be obtained by combining different methodologies and bringing together unconventional data from various sources.”
The researchers combined high-resolution satellite images with crowdsourcing data on fatalities and case studies of the dynamics of violence in various locations. They were thus able to obtain information about which regions were provided with state services and which ones were particularly affected by violence. “The use of satellite images enabled us to observe the patterns in the Syrian government’s distribution of limited goods, such as electricity, to the population,” said Alexander De Juan, who is now a visiting professor at the University of Konstanz and continues to be associated with the GIGA. “Where the Syrian regime made an effort to deliver electricity to the population, even in times of limited energy supply, the subsequent escalation of violence was, on the whole, less likely.”
About the Journal of Peace Research and the JPR Article of the Year Award
The Journal of Peace Research is published quarterly by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo. According to Thomson Reuters Citation Index, the interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal is the second most important international relations specialist publication worldwide and the third most important political science publication. The jury for the Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award 2015 was made up of Prof. Indra de Soysa of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Prof. Emilie Hafner-Burton of the University of California in San Diego, and Prof. Vally Koubi of ETH Zuerich.
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