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Research Projects in Peace and Development

Below is a presentation of a few of our projects. To find out about all on-going projects at SGS, see list of all research projects.

Political Engineering – Can roads lead to peace?

This research project studies the role of infrastructure projects in Western statebuliding missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Somalia. A large part of current interventions, with state capacity and security as their core objectives, is invested in infrastructure construction. It seems that inherently political goals are to be reached by what are usually said to be technical means. In this research project, the researchers explore claims of an inherent link between infrastructure and improved security. Furthermore, they problematize the claim that infrastructure construction in fragile contexts is a mere technical matter.

During the project, the researchers will use tools and perspectives within science and technology studies and their inquiries into the social and political affordances of technology and infrastructure. Further inspiration will be drawn from the anthropology of infrastructure that explores the social imaginaries that evolve around infrastructures. Questions include: What is a road meant to be? What expectations do donors, officials, engineers or communities invest in a certain infrastructure project? The researchers contend that infrastructures may yield controversies in planning, design, communication, construction, and/or use. Infrastructure affects people and therefore facilitates the emergence of collectives.

In identifying some of the disagreements in relation to perceptions on infrastructure and security, in contexts of Western state-building missions, the project hopes to tease out the political within infrastructure in the context of statebuilding missions. By doing so, the study can contribute conceptually and empirically to the study of technology and infrastructure within international relations, geography, and peace research.

As part of the project we, together with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), held a major policy workhops on infrastructure in fragile and conflict-affected states in February 2017. For more information, please see: Roads to Peace - The future of infrastructures in fragile states
During 2018 we will be extending our collaboration with UNOPS and will embark on field research in the DRC and Somalia.

For more information about this project, contact Jan Bachmann.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marie Frechon (first picture) & UN Photo/Tobin Jones (second picture)

Legitimacy in Global Governance 

LegGov is a six-year research programme carried out jointly by researchers from SGS and the Departments of Political Science at Lund and Stockholm University. The programme is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation).

The purpose of this research programme is to offer the first systematic and comprehensive analysis of legitimacy in global governance. To what extent are global governance institutions (GGIs) regarded as legitimate? What explains that legitimacy? By what processes are GGIs legitimated and delegitimated? What are the consequences of legitimacy (or its absence) for the functioning of GGIs? How are these legitimacy dynamics in global governance similar to or different from the dynamics of legitimacy in the nation-state and other forms of governance?

While legitimacy in global governance has generated growing interest in recent years, it has not yet been researched methodically by a coordinated team of specialists. We address the overarching question of why, how, and with what consequences GGIs gain, sustain and lose legitimacy by exploring three principal themes: (1) sources of legitimacy, (2) legitimation and delegitimation strategies, and (3) consequences of legitimacy. In the broadest sense, the program considers what systematic attention to legitimacy can tell us about world politics, and what experiences from world politics suggest for understanding legitimacy in contemporary politics generally.

For more information, contact: Jan Aart Scholte Fredrik Söderbaum

Read more about the programme>>

Read the LegGov Blog>>

International Courts and the Interpretation of International Criminal Law

What is the broader relevance of the decisions of international courts in global governance? And, more specifically, how and with which effects have the judgments of international criminal courts and tribunals contributed to the development of legal meaning in international criminal law? The number of international courts has grown rapidly since the end of the Cold War. At the same time, these courts have developed international legal rules and principles substantially, especially in international criminal law.

Drawing on International Relations theory and legal theory, the project examines how judges respond to the potential for innovation in the interpretation of international criminal law. More specifically, it asks, among other questions, which role academic writings have played within the interpretive process. Furthermore, to situate these processes within a broader political context, the project explores how a broader interpretive community including state officials and staff at non-governmental organisations engage with these judgments.

The project uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative forms of content analysis, semi- structured interviews, and legal interpretive methods. It builds on my doctoral research, which I conducted at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, and which was funded by the German National Academic Foundation and by Oxford’s Pembroke College.

For more information about this project, contact Nora Stappert.

Photo credits: Nora Stappert (the International Criminal Court building in The Hague)

Page Manager: Research coordinator Isabell Schierenbeck|Last update: 1/15/2018

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