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Peace and Conflict Studies in Anthropology Network


The Making of Peace, Conflict and Security: Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion
28th-30th of August, University of Amsterdam

As one of PACSA’s largest conferences to date, the 6th Bi-annual meeting at the University of Amsterdam can be considered a major success. In addition to EASA’s generous support, the event benefited from the collaboration with a number of partners: the Anthropology of Security Network, SECURCIT (University of Amsterdam), the Dept. of Anthropology (VU University Amsterdam) and the research centre ‘Dynamics of Security: Forms of Securitisation in Historical Perspective.’ Alongside these partners, the summit benefitted greatly from the support of a diversity of individuals, including Ana Ivasiuc, Jelke Bosma, Giulia Traversari, Muriel Kiesel, Limor Samimian-Darash, Lior Volinz, Michael Rabi, Koen Donatz and Matthias Teeuwen.

With more than 150 participants, the conference spanned 20 panels distributed between three full conference days in four parallel rooms. The detailed programme can be accessed via the website under the following link:

In a multi-stage process, we had invited panel proposals and then peer-selected panels involving an advisory group of participating scholars. The successful panels were then compiled into a general call for papers whereby each paper proposal applied for a particular panel (some panels had already been proposed with a full list of speakers in the first place and were thus marked as closed). This allowed for a good mix of open and pre-organised panels. The panels were all geared to offer new insights and exciting discussions around the overall conference theme, exploring issues as diverse as peacebuilding, securitization, (non)violence, displacement, borders, the state, citizenship, and more. We received a record number of paper abstracts and successfully accommodated most of them.

In its aim to support young scholars and facilitate productive outputs, PACSA encouraged all conveners to think about follow-up initiatives and concrete publications as part of their panels. A dedicated early career workshop brought together a number of scholars in an open forum to discuss challenges and think about solutions to widespread problems collectively.

Alongside a fully-funded conference dinner for all participants in downtown Amsterdam, the summit offered a unique afternoon activity in collaboration with ‘Lampedusa Cruises’: a canal boat tour highlighting the role migrants have played in the making of Amsterdam, guided by recent migrants and refugees who arrived to the Netherlands. This made a great fit with the theme of Barak Kalir’s provocative keynote, ‘From Apartheid to Departheid: Or why “stop deportation” campaigns do not succeed’. Organised as an informed discussion rather than a singular lecture, the keynote featured a panel of discussants who are leaders in the field of refugee studies (Cindy Horst and Simon Turner). Unfortunately, a second keynote had to be cancelled last minute due to illness.

Panel: Spaces of security Panel in cooperation with the Anthropology of Security network at EASA2016 in Milan
Convenors Nils Zurawski (Universität Hamburg) Alexandra Schwell (University of Hamburg) email Silja Klepp (University of Bremen)

Panel: Moral entrepreneurship: revisiting human rights
Convenors Susana Durão (UNICAMP (São Paulo, Brazil)) Daniel Seabra Lopes (CSG-ISEG/University of Lisbon) Elif Babul (Mount Holyoke College)

Biannual meeting: Im/mobilities as products and generators of conflict
PACSA, the Peace and Conflict Studies in Anthropology network, held its 5th bi-annual meeting in Frankfurt this September. The conference explored im/mobilities in the context of peace, violence, and conflict in two days of exciting discussion, exchange and presentations. Co-hosted by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Goethe University, the meeting drew some 40 participants who addressed the mobility-conflict nexus from a variety of perspectives, among them displacement, memory and identity, transnational networks, activism and state violence. Tobias Kelly, Head of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, delivered the keynote lecture on the “Immobility of Human Rights,” discussing the unequal distribution and mobility of human rights claims.

At the last EASA conference PACSA was present with 4 panels that covered issues such as Security, Soldiers, Justice, Violence and Intimacy

Panel: Security and citizenship at the EASA conference in Tallinn 2014.

Panel: Soldier, security, society: ethnographies of civil-military entanglements at the EASA conference in Tallinn 2014.

Panel: The massacre and its Intimacy: violence among neighbors at the EASA conference in Tallinn 2014.

The ‘Local’ in Global Understandings of War and Peacemaking
Anthropological and inter-disciplinary perspectives
NICOSIA, 1-2 September 2011

The last century has seen a proliferation of conflict in different sites, and of varying scale and form - from civil and revolutionary/liberation struggles, to inter-communal and global wars and, as the case of Cyprus clearly shows, combinations of the above. 

While much enquiry about the background of these conflicts, their nature and not least the so-called ‘war on terror’ have brought the international world order and the discourse of liberalism and democracy into question, ‘the local’ still retains a rather parochial position within mainstream peace and conflict studies, remaining the curious exemplar that may confirm or refute the efficacy of ‘international norms’. New approaches in anthropology attempt to break away from the local/global dichotomy by focusing on the interconnectedness and trans-locality of peace and conflict, or by exploring the everyday of conflict through ethnographies of violence and subjectivity.

PACSA workshops at EASA2010

W057 Vanguardism among Muslims
W078 Anthropology of categories in peace and conflict
W086 Ethics in conflict: doing research in conflict areas and the ethical dilemmas that arise
W100 The anthropology of international organizations
W110 Observing the 'bad guys': ethnographic approaches to non-state armed groups

DGV-Conference 2009: call for papers for Panel 29
Conflict and the (Re-)Appropriation of Normality / Konflikt und (Wieder-)Aneignung von Normalität
For a workshop description (in German) and contact details of the organisers please see / Die Beschreibung des Workshops und die Kontaktdaten der Organisatoren finden Sie unter

Second Biennial PACSA meeting, 9th- 11th October 2009
'Continuities and ruptures between conflict, post-conflict and peace'
Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), Peace Center, Burg Schlaining, Austria

OrganisersThe 2nd Biennial PACSA Meeting brought together young scholars and some senior scholars in a highly successful and inspiring meeting in Stadtschlaining, Burgenland. The enchanting atmosphere was mostly due to the effective organization of Michael Lidauer at the ASPR and the support of all PACSA-officials: Erella Grassiani (Amsterdam), Nerina Weiss (Oslo) and Alexander Horstmann (Göttingen).

PACSA is a European network of social anthropologists who are interested in studying peace and conflict by putting people in the forefront of their analysis. Anthropologists organized in EASA felt that peace studies in Europe are by and large dominated by political sciences and international relations, favouring an institutional approach. Anthropologists are keen to emphasize the agency of people who are confronted by conflict and war with their theoretical approach, fieldwork and qualitative methodology. PACSA thus contributes greatly to make this critical and reflexive approach to peace and conflict more visible through networks, meetings and publications.

PACSA_2009The papers presented during the meeting reflect this innovative approach to peace and conflict studies. The organizers were happy to win well-known anthropologist Carolyn Nordstrom (University of Notre Dame, USA) as key-note speaker. In a very stimulating, post-modern talk, Carolyn tied the life of a young boy and victim of war in Mozambique to the underground economy that is nourishing the war and which is nurtured by the war, e.g. drugs trade, trade in pharmaceutics, trade in small arms and fire-weapons. Carolyn noted the gigantic importance of this illegal market and the dramatic consequences for the perpetuation of violence and war. She also pointed to the difficult and risky business of doing fieldwork in war zones as well as on the underground economy. She made the interesting observation that the young boy was keenly aware of this business and wanted Carolyn to report on it. Carolyn’s research is characterized by empathy and taking sides with the young boy who represented the unheard voices or as Carolyn puts it, all what cannot be said in the academia.

PACSA_2009The second key-note was delivered by Maria Six-Hohenbalken (Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences) who gave us insight into the multi-cultural arena of the Burgenland. The Burgenland has a long history of coexistence of Austrians, Croatians, Hungarians and Roma. Maria pointed out that this multi-cultural character is largely suppressed in favour of the image of a homogenous Austrian countryside. More serious, discrimination of minorities and foreigners prevails in the area and these groups were persecuted in the Nazi era. Civil society organizations are minuscule and not able to counter conservative forces. Yet, also today minorities come out in the public sphere and aim to ascertain their rights. Maria’s paper not only gave the participants an excellent introduction to the Burgenland, but also illustrated the resistance of powerful rural élites to acknowledge the multi-cultural character of the region and the rights of minorities that are associated with it. The key-note also illustrates how the co-existence of different groups has changed drastically through the violence of the Nazi regime.

Many papers presented and discussed in the panels followed this creative and reflexive approach to peace and conflict studies. Instead of referring to every individual paper, I identify clusters and overlaps of common themes.

PACSA workshop at EASA06
PACSA held an inaugural panel session at the 9th EASA Conference

First biennial PACSA meeting
Halle, Germany, 5 October 2007. Read the report.

PACSA workshops at EASA08
At the 10th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), held from 26 to 30 August in Ljubljana, Slovenia, PACSA members, as well as other colleagues working in the field of PACSA, organized a number of panels and workshops, ranging from discussions of how ethnic identities are turned into either-or categories in times of conflict (Workshop 053) to explorations of narratives of violence (W039), the processing of trauma in post-conflict societies (W032) and how peace and conflict zones are connected with one another (IW06). Here is a list of PACSA-related workshops:

Inivited Workshop 06: Connecting peace and violence: Zones, transgressions and causes
Workshop 019: The anthropology of the United Nations
Workshop 026: Imagining and constructing "terrorism" and "war on terror"
Workshop 032: Processing trauma in (post-)conflict societies
Workshop 039: Violence expressed
Workshop 050: Studying anthropologists in war and conflict zones: Spies and freedom fighters, scholars and advocates
Workshop 053: Fragile transitions: From coexistence to the emergence of hatred
Workshop 096: Memory and material culture in post-conflict societies