Peace and Security

Peace and Security

The Peace and Security Research Programme analyses how identities and ideologies, institutional arrangements, and international interventions affect peace and conflict dynamics in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and investigates international violence and security trends.


  • How do we overcome violent conflict, and how do we create sustainable peace? This question is of key importance to understanding and shaping political, social, and economic developments in the twenty-first century. While interstate wars have become rare and the number of civil wars has decreased overall, violence remains a ubiquitous problem and new security challenges have emerged. The Peace and Security Research Programme examines peace and conflict processes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and investigates international violence and security trends.

    International crises, protracted intrastate conflicts, and lower-level state and social violence destroy the lives of millions of people. They are also a major hindrance to development and put the security of individuals, social groups, states, and the world significantly at risk. We analyse the role of local, national, regional, and international actors in creating peace and security and overcoming conflict by advancing novel theoretical explanations and integrating state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative comparative methods. Utilising networks with leading institutions in peace, conflict, and security research from several world regions the programme generates in-depth knowledge of the processes involved. Analysing the increasingly transnational nature of conflicts, security provision and peacebuilding, we aim to identify lessons for both scholars and policymakers.

    The researchers in the Peace and Security Programme are organised in three teams that analyse how identities and ideologies, institutional arrangements, and international interventions affect peace and conflict dynamics.

    The Identities, Ideology, and Conflict Research Team studies how social identities, religion and ideology affect processes of mobilisation and contention, as well as how they may intensify or reduce insecurity and conflict. The Institutions for Sustainable Peace Research Team explores whether and how institutional arrangements such as power-sharing governments, security sector reforms, and the governance of climate change and forced migration help to promote peace but may also contribute to the emergence of conflict. The Interventions and Security Research Team studies how external actors and international and regional arrangements affect peace and conflict dynamics and what the security implications of their interventions are at the local, national, regional, and international levels.

    Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies | 01/2024

    The Evolvement of Iran–Israel’s Rivalry in the Red Sea and Eastern Africa

    This paper reviews the history of involvement of the two countries in these regions, and analyses how policies of confrontation in both countries have changed and developed over the different historical periods.

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 1/2024

    Ten Things to Watch in the Middle East and North Africa in 2024

    From the Gaza War to other regional conflicts and the lasting importance of oil, the Middle East and North Africa region remains pivotal for Europe. We present ten issues that will play a central role in the relationship between both regions in the year ahead.

    Research Project | 01/08/2024 - 31/07/2026

    Religion for Peace: Investigating Messengers and Messages for Interreligious Peace

    Religious leaders are active for (interreligious) peace in many contexts and, for example, use their rhetoric to advocate for peace. The effectiveness of religious leaders’ rhetoric depends on the interplay of religious leaders being the messengers and the contents of their words—the message itself. This project (re)tests the (comparative) effectiveness of religious leaders as peace messengers and effective content of peace messages. The project also examines effects of an intervention.
    DFG, 2024-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2025

    Climate Obstruction and Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective

    The fight against climate change continues to be hindered by campaigns of corporate and other actors who seek to prevent global and/or national action on climate change. This research group is set up to a joint and comparative research agenda on climate obstruction in and across key Global South countries. The lead institutions are the GIGA and the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
    DAAD/CAPES, 2024-2026

    Research Project | 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2026

    The Dynamics of Mass Protests: The Influence of Composition, Demands, and Tactics on Violent Outcomes

    In recent years, the world has experienced an unprecedented number of mass protest events. Yet despite valuable research endeavours, one area that has not been systematically addressed is the conditions under which such protests turn violent. This is a significant limitation, as violent protests have serious detrimental effects: They harm people as well as infrastructure, erode trust between citizens and government, and polarize societies. To address this shortcoming, the Dynamics of Mass Protest (DMP) project will systematically study the heterogeneous and dynamic nature of protests.
    DFG, 2024-2026

    Dr. Belén González

    Prof. Dr. Nils B. Weidmann

    Research Project | 01/06/2023 - 30/11/2025

    Targeting: How the USA and EU Use Individual Sanctions

    Individual sanctions have become a go-to instrument with which Western powers confront challenges to international peace and security. Shaping the trend of individualizing accountability, the USA and the EU as the main bilateral global sanction senders target individuals and entities to hold them accountable for the instigation of armed conflict, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or the violation of human rights. INSA seeks to systematically analyze and compare the listing decisions of the USA and the EU.
    DSF, 2023-2025

    Research Project | 01/09/2022 - 31/08/2023

    Legal Identity Under Insurgencies and Unrecognised States

    Legal identity is a target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s and it underpins the SDGs at large. Not having a recognized legal identity can severely implicate people’s human rights and it may cause statelessness. Our project goes to the core of unresolved tensions around theorising sovereign statehood and the authority to make law.
    Swedish Research Council, 2022-2023

    Dr. Bart Klem

    University of Melbourne

    Research Project | 01/08/2022 - 31/12/2023

    Impact of Sanctions on Senders Countries’ Enterprises – the Case of the Russian–Ukraine Military Conflict

    The goal of this project is to assess the short- and mid-term economic consequences of EU and US sanctions imposed on Russia on companies from sanctions sender countries. Knowing how and why economic sanctions affect firms’ behavior is key to understanding the impact that sanctions will have - both for good and for ill – for senders’ countries’ economies and sanctions’ effectiveness.

    Research Project | 01/01/2022 - 30/09/2024

    Sanctions Termination in Times of Crises: Unpacking the Role of External Shocks

    In March 2020, the UN Secretary-General called for the easing of sanctions against Iran in response to COVID-19. Hence, external shocks are potentially related to sanctions termination. Yet, the effect of different types of external shocks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and economic crises on the (gradual) removal of sanctions has not been systematically studied. This project examines when and how external shocks affect sanctions termination through a nested research design combining new data collection, statistical analyses, and two case studies.
    DFG, 2022-2024

    Research Project | 01/12/2021 - 30/11/2024

    Migration and Im/Mobility in the Global South during a Pandemic (DFG Network)

    The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to novel experiences of isolation, mobility restriction and exclusion. Mobile populations are particularly affected when borders are closed and migrants are turned away, commuters are denied border crossings, resettlements are suspended or unlawful deportations are justified by pandemic-related risks. This network brings together twenty migration researchers to collect data, build theory, and gain new knowledge about the impact of the pandemic on the Global South.
    DFG, 2021-2024

    Dr. Antje Missbach

    Judith Altrogge

    Jun.-Prof. Dr. Soledad Alvarez Velasco

    Dr. Sabine Mohamed

    Dr. Tabea Scharrer

    Dr. Gerhild Perl

    Dr. Dora Sampaio

    Dr. Victoria Kumala Sakti

    Dr. Megha Amrith

    Dr. Wayne Palmer

    Yaatsil Guevara

    Dr. Magdalena Suerbaum

    Dr. Monika Palmberger

    Dilshad Muhammad

    Dr. Franzisca Zanker

    Prof. Dr. Jelena Tosic

    Maria Lassak

    Dr. Katja Girr

    Prof. Dr. Magnus Treiber

    Team


    Research Teams

    The researchers in the Peace and Security Programme are organised in three teams that analyse how identities and ideologies, institutional arrangements, and international interventions affect peace and conflict dynamics. The Identities, Ideology, and Conflict Research Team studies how social identities, religion and ideology affect processes of mobilisation and contention, as well as how they may intensify or reduce insecurity and conflict. The Institutions for Sustainable Peace Research Team explores whether and how institutional arrangements such as power-sharing governments, security sector reforms, and the governance of climate change and forced migration help to promote peace but may also contribute to the emergence of conflict. The Interventions and Security Research Team studies how external actors and international and regional arrangements affect peace and conflict dynamics and what the security implications of their interventions are at the local, national, regional, and international levels.


    Research Team 1: Identities, Ideology, and Conflict

    The Identities, Ideology, and Conflict Research Team studies how religious and other social identities as well as ideologies affect processes of mobilisation and diverse forms of contentious politics, and how they either intensify or de-escalate insecurity and violent conflict. The Research Team also analyses how religion and ethnicity combine with material factors, such as natural resources, in shaping the trajectories of conflict.

    Based on extensive fieldwork and on cooperation with researchers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, we generate in-depth knowledge of the actors and micro-level processes involved. Moreover, we focus on the general impact that identities, religion and ideology have on conflict. As an interdisciplinary team that includes political scientists, historians, and religious studies experts, team members compare cases in and across the different world regions. In doing so, they employ qualitative as well as quantitative methods and work with mixed-method designs.

    The Research Team focuses on three areas: First, it analyses social and political actors and their mobilisation strategies. This work comprises research on political Islam and examines how and why violent and potentially violent Islamist groups radicalise or become more moderate. It also includes how Jihadi groups frame international developments to attract new followers in Western societies. Second, it investigates how religious factors influence the likelihood of armed conflict, and how they interact with other drivers of conflict and peace, such as ethnic identities. This investigation includes work with global data sets on the religious ideologies of rebels and different forms of religious violence. Finally, the Research Team looks at micro processes of conflict but also cooperation at the local level and at the influence that, for example, interethnic and religious relations have on these processes.


    Research Team 2: Institutions for Sustainable Peace

    The Research Team on Institutions for Sustainable Peace examines the drivers of peace and security, and also conflict and repression. Its members particularly focus on the transformational processes related to both formal and informal institutions. The team investigates which institutional arrangements help to create, foster, and promote peace and security (for instance power-sharing governments or security sector reform and the governance of climate change and forced migration), taking into account the influence of international, national, and local actors. Researchers pay equal attention to institutions and processes that may obstruct peace by analysing violent state and non-state actors, such as rebel organisations, organised crime, or the state security apparatus.

    The Research Team seeks to understand how institutions can help overcoming current challenges to peace and security. Its researchers evaluate the quality and stability of peace and support policymakers in anticipating conflict outbreak and escalation dynamics. To this end, the interdisciplinary team conducts research at international, regional, national, and subnational levels of analysis, using both quantitative and qualitative comparative methods. Team members have conducted fieldwork in places as diverse as Argentina, Chile, Central America, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan, Lebanon, Nepal, Peru, Syria, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka.


    Research Team 3: Interventions and Security

    The Interventions and Security Research Team analyses the different forms of diplomatic, economic, and military intervention in conflicts by external actors such as the United Nations and regional organisations, states, and non-state actors. It asks under what conditions these actors intervene in certain conflicts but not in others; why they choose specific instruments for intervention; and what the consequences of intervention are for conflict resolution, for regional and international security, and for domestic politics in the targeted regimes. To address these questions, the Research Team adopts a cross-regional comparative perspective and combines qualitative and quantitative methods. Its approach is multilevel since it focuses on different kinds of external actors and the impact of their respective interventions at the international, regional, national, and local levels. With its focus on both peace-promoting and potentially conflict-escalating policies, including sanctions, peace operations, mediation and negotiations, the Research Team works at the intersection of peace and conflict studies as well as security studies.

    The team’s current and prospective research projects focus on the imposition, effectiveness and termination of international sanctions, on regional conflict resolution initiatives, United Nations peace operations, as well as on international mediation and negotiation processes.

    President

    Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is President of the GIGA. Her research focuses on international negotiations, economic statecraft, and multilateralism. She has a special interest in India, Asia, and the BRICS.

    Office of the President

    Regional Institutes

    Africa|Asia|Latin America|Middle East

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