Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

Conflict Zone from the LSE

Conflict Zone from the LSE

Cutting edge research into the drivers of intractable conflict. Our researchers bring together the big ideas and concepts needed to understand the causes of organised violence in the twenty-first century. We expose the political economy of organised violence: the networks of money and power that stand behind many of the world's trouble spots.  Produced by the Conflict Research Programme, an international research project funded by the UK Department of International Development.

11 épisodes

  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    5: The logics of conflict in the DRC: from the mineral to the checkpoint economy

    49:06

    Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has long been associated with mineral wealth. Indeed, the country is hugely rich in natural resources - and this has played an important incentivising role in the conflicts seen over the last three decades. But this is by no means the whole picture. And a one-sided focus on minerals alone can lose sight of other important dimensions.  In this episode, we explore the changing nature of the political economy of violence in the DRC. We outline the connections between local and global factors in fuelling the 'mineral wars'. But we also explore the new phenomenon of rebel financing: the role of checkpoints, showing how this also elicits linkages between globalisation and local political economies. We argue checkpoints provide an important window into governance practices in the DRC - and a greater awareness of this aspect, and its nuances, can help generate policy-making that is receptive to local conditions.  Featuring, Lys Kulamadayil, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Amsterdam, Peer Schouten, a Senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, Godefroid Muzalia Kihangu, professor at the department of History and Social Science at the Higher Education Institute of Bukavu, and Bienvenu Mukungilwa, a research assistant with the CERUKI at the Higher Education Institute of Bukavu.  Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Camilo Tirado  Translation and production support: Henry Radice, LSE, Kasper Hoffman, Ghent University  Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).    This podcast series has been funded by the UK government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of the LSE Conflict Research Programme. The ideas expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect the views or policy positions of the UK Government/FCDO.   
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    4: Decolonising conflict research in the Global South: reflections and dialogues

    34:49

    Conflict research as a subject area has often been prone to colonial mindsets and thinking. In a world in which power disparities between wealthy states and the former colonial world remain very large - indeed, often huge - there are significant structural imbalances of power between the the North and South. These are reflected in the resources available to the academic community. Privilege can often create regressive attitudes and mindsets, which reinforce and reproduce these power disparities.  In this episode, we introduce the Silent Voices Bukavu Project, a collaborative research project, based on the sharing of experiences and creation of dialogue, which has created an intellectual and cultural resource for the global academy. The project seeks to identify and share problems in order to promote and encourage collaborative best practices.   Featuring professor Koen Vlassenroot, Director of the Conflict Research Group at Ghent University, Emery Mudinga, the Director of Angaza Institute and Associate Professor at Higher Institute for Rural Development, Bukavu, and Irène Bahati, a Congolese researcher at the Study Group on Conflict and Human Security and Teacher at the Higher Pedagogical Institute of Bukavu.  Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Camilo Tirado  Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).    This podcast series has been funded by the UK government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of the LSE Conflict Research Programme. The ideas expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect the views or policy positions of the UK Government/FCDO. 
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

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  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    3: What happens when the oil runs out? Traumatic decarbonisation in South Sudan

    41:17

    The transition away from fossil fuels is one of the major questions facing humanity in this century. In many states globally, this is presented as both a necessity and opportunity: to create new and sustainable economies. But what happens if decarbonisation is forced on a state? In this podcast, we explore the 'peak oil' problem in South Sudan. As the country's reserves dwindle, and oil prices collapse, the extremely impoverished, oil dependent economy has faced a mounting and existential crisis. This is what the Conflict Research Programme calls, 'traumatic decarbonisation'. And it's been a central factor in the South Sudanese Civil War. Drawing on expert interviews and archive footage, Conflict Zone investigates this process and asks what can be done to address the on-going crisis.  Featuring Matthew Benson, director of the South Sudan team on the Conflict Research Programme, and Joshua Craze, a researcher with Tufts University who has been investigating the 'peak oil' crisis.  Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Camilo Tirado  Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).    This podcast series has been funded by the UK government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of the LSE Conflict Research Programme. The ideas expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect the views or policy positions of the UK Government/FCDO. 
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    2: Investigating the oil rush in Somalia

    47:13

    Somalia is one of the world's poorest countries. It has suffered from a problem of persistent, intractable violence since the 1980s. But there is a new, optimistic atmosphere around Somalia development. All indications are the country has significant oil reserves. Amongst many intellectuals and the Somali elite, there is considerable excitement at this prospect. Is this Somalia's once in a lifetime opportunity to forge a new path to prosperity?  In this podcast, we critically review the efforts undertaken to date to start tapping this oil wealth. We identify a problem of a lack of regulation and ask whether, given the global turn underway to renewable energy sources, this is the wrong time for Somalia to develop an oil industry.  Featuring Adtiya Sarkar, a researcher with the World Peace Foundation, Tufts University, Joakim Gundel, who has undertaken research and advocacy on the oil rush in Somalia, Mohamed Husein Gaas, a researcher in International Development, and Nisar Majid, the LSE Conflict Research Programme manager for the Somalia research team.  Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).   This podcast series has been funded by the UK government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of the LSE Conflict Research Programme. The ideas expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect the views or policy positions of the UK Government/FCDO. 
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    1: Ten years of war in Syria: an enquiry into the rights and wrongs of ‘intervention’

    54:26

    Syria is often seen as a tragic case of "non-intervention". One of several examples of where the international community failed to protect civilians from violence and atrocities. But, while there is an element of truth in this view, it also begs many other difficult questions about the rights and wrongs of intervention in societies dealing with intractable violence.  In this podcast, we set out to challenge some of the assumptions in the existing debate. We argue that Syria has seen very wide ranging military interventions by a large number of foreign actors. It is simply wrong to see it as a case of "non-intervention", even from the West. And this poses a question around how interventions should be designed and undertaken.  We review the history of the Syrian conflict, the different turnings points in a brutal war, and argue humanitarian protection must be the key principle underpinning any external intervention.  Featuring Mary Kaldor, emeritus professor of Global Governance at the LSE and director of the Conflict Research Programme, and Mazen Gharibah and Zaki Mehchy, researchers on the LSE Syria Research Team.  Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).   This podcast series has been funded by the UK government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of the LSE Conflict Research Programme. The ideas expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect the views or policy positions of the UK Government/FCDO. 
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    6: What works? Exploring the role of local peace agreements in contemporary conflict resolution

    52:56

    It can be hard not to get lost in the horror when studying societies experiencing violent conflict. And it can easily lead to the conclusion that 'nothing can be done'. Our findings on the Conflict Research Programme challenge this assessment by uncovering the presence of civic minded groups and individuals pushing for alternatives to exclusionary identity politics and the political marketplace. What's more we have also found local peace agreements to be a pervasive response to contemporary war. In this episode, we look at the role local deals can play in building a sustainable peace. We suggest caution in seeing these as a silver bullet to organised conflict, but identify the potentially positive role they can play if part of a citizens' and civil society grounded approach to peace building.  Drawing on evidence from Somalia, Iraq, Syria and South Sudan this podcast looks at the potential for local peace deals. Featuring Rim Turkmani, Director of the Syria Programme at LSE CCS, Martin Ochaya, lecturer and consultant research for the programme based in South Sudan, Dylan O’Driscoll, Research Fellow on the Iraq team, Kuyang Logo, a legal researcher on the South Sudan team, and Nisar Majid, manager of the Somalia Programme.  This podcast series has been funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office as part of the Conflict Research Programme. Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).   
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    5: What works? Effective security sector reform in conflict situations

    36:11

    State violence and repression can be a particular problem in conflict and post-conflict societies. Constructing democratic and legitimate public authority is vital to overcome this. This means ensuring that the state is not a vehicle for rentier interest groups. And that the unique right to legitimately use force it enjoys is subject to democratic control.  This makes the reform of state security services, so that they work under legitimate public authorities, vital to bringing about a sustainable peace.  In this podcast we explore these issues and ask how security services can be reformed to work in the public good. We look at what lessons we can draw from the societies we study on the Conflict Research Programme and take a closer look at cases of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Featuring Sarah Detzner, a consultant based in Washington DC and a fellow at the World Peace Foundation, Michel Thill, PhD Fellow at Ghent University, and Mulugeta Berhe, a Senior Fellow with the World Peace Foundation and former Ethiopian politician.  This podcast series has been funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office as part of the Conflict Research Programme. Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).  
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    4: Opportunities for peace and democracy: civicness in conflict societies

    58:32

    In conflict and post-conflict situations it can be easy to get lost in the horror faced by many people in these societies. But we should be wary of this tendency - because it can blind us to the opportunities for change.  The belief that ‘nothing good’ occurs in conflict regions is typical of a Western-centric bias and a rather 'top down' model of intervention.  In this podcast we challenge this way of thinking. And we do so by talking about an empirical phenomena we find in conflict ravaged societies - a phenomenon we call civic-ness. We argue that this simple idea can unleash democratic change - and what’s more, it’s an empirical, not an idealistic concept. It’s something we find in all the societies that we investigate on the Conflict Research Programme.  This podcast explores these ideas with reference to Iraq and Syria, looking at movements for gender equality, independent journalism and democratic transformation.  Featuring Matthew Benson, director of the LSE South Sudan Programme, Henry Radice, Research Fellow in the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit, Rim Turkmani, Research Director of the LSE Syrian Research Programme, Zahra Ali, assistant professor at Rutgers University, Newark, and Aida Al-Kaisy, a media reform advisor and the author of the LSE Conflict Research Programme report, A Fragmented Landscape: Barriers to Independent Media in Iraq.  This podcast series has been funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office as part of the Conflict Research Programme. Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).  
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    3: Identity politics and the political marketplace

    54:52

    It is commonplace to see inter-communal, religious or ethnic conflict as an important factor in war ravaged countries. But the discussion of these features are often crude and one-sided. Tribal, clan or religious based identities, for example, are frequently cast as the only significant factor.  To overcome this, the Conflict Research Programme investigates the holistic relationship between different, interconnected logics: a political marketplace condition where politics becomes a question of buying and selling support, and the role of exclusivist identity politics as a means to legitimacy for armed groups. The intersection of these elements is fuelled and sustained by violent conflict.  In this podcast, we investigate the relationship between political marketplace conditions and organised violence in Iraq and Syria. We also review the political history of post-1991 Ethiopia and ask if it's undergoing a transformation from a developmental state to a political marketplace one. And we consider what the necessary ingredients are to move beyond these violent logics of conflict.  Featuring professor Alex de Waal (Tufts University and LSE), Mulugeta Berhe, former Ethiopian freedom fighter and research fellow at Tufts University, Rim Turkmani, the director of the Syria Research Programme, LSE, and Jessica Watkins, researcher at the Middle East Centre, LSE.   This podcast series has been funded by the UK Department of International Development as part of the Conflict Research Programme. Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).  
  • Conflict Zone from the LSE podcast

    2: Buying and selling politics: the political marketplace and its adversaries

    48:35

    Countries experiencing intractable conflict often exhibit high levels of corruption. Politics becomes a question of buying and selling support amongst interest groups, not serving the public interest. And violence can be used as a negotiating tactic to access more resources in the market.  In this podcast, we introduce the idea of the political marketplace as a way of understanding the relationship between politics and organised violence in twenty-first century conflicts. This is a term which we use on the Conflict Research Programme to discuss the nature of the challenge facing democratic politics in societies prone to violence. We show the contrast between this idea and its opposite: the developmental state. We use Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan as examples of political marketplace societies. And we conclude by analysing the possibilities for a break with marketplace politics: the overthrow of Al-Bashir in Sudan.  Featuring professor Alex de Waal (Tufts University, LSE and the World Peace Foundation), Aditya Sarkar, a researcher at Tufts University and the World Peace Foundation, and Raga Makawi, a Sudanese civil society activist.  This podcast series has been funded by the UK Department of International Development as part of the Conflict Research Programme. Producers: Luke Cooper, Azaria Morgan Sound editor: Ben Higgins Millner Intro music: The Drama by Rafael Krux (used for education purposes under Creative Commons License).  

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