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Plakat Zentrumstage

On Collective Violence. Actions, Roles, Perceptions (2016)

On the 20.-22.10.2016 the conference "On Collective Violence. Actions, Roles, Perceptions" will be organized by the Center for Conflict Studies.

This conference will attempt to untangle the definitional web of actors such as perpetrators, victims, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses and so on who act within the context of collective violence, looking conceptually and empirically at who these people are, what roles they take on and what actions they engage in. The conference will capture the relevance of various ‘grey zones’ conceptually and empirically, thus forwarding our understanding of the many types of actors and actions. At the same time the conference will discuss the actors’ own constructions of the parts they play as well as the social and political discourses that qualify or disqualify, legitimise or delegitimize actors and/or their actions.

Further Information








Travel & Accommodation

Venue: the conference will take place in the historical Town Hall at the Market Square in the centre of town. Click here to view a map.
Airport: the closest airport is Frankfurt (FRA), an easy to reach hub in Europe.
Train: trains run frequently from Frankfurt Central Station or other German cities to Marburg (Lahn), the journey takes about 1h. Please visit the Deutsche Bahn English website for more information.
For further information click here

Accommodation: for an overview click here


Please note that childcare is offered to registered conference participants. The children will be looked after by highly professional Kindergarten teachers, employed by the University of Marburg. For registration write to: violence@staff.uni-marburg.de 

Organising Committee

Kristine Avram, Melanie Hartmann, Philipp Schultheiß, Timothy Williams
Contact: violence@staff.uni-marburg.de

Call for Papers 

Find the Call for Papers here.


 Authority/ies in Conflict (2014)


Bild Zentrumstage 2014

On the 29.-31.10.2014 the conference "On Collective Violence. Actions, Roles, Perceptions" was organized by the Center for Conflict Studies.

The Centre for Conflict Studies is organizing the Zentrumstage from October 29th to 31st 2014. Updates for the conference will be published on this page.

Authority is based on the recognition of those who follow the interpretations or directions of institutions, actors or persons. As known, Max Weber traced back authority to the belief in legitimacy which can be based on different basic principles, e.g. traditions, the attribution of charisma, procedures and universalist norms. Those who are associated with authority do usually not need to justify their decisions or interpretations, but can have confidence that their interpretations  are shared or accepted by others. In this respect authority generates power, thus the ability to achieve one’s own interests.

In political and social conflicts authority plays multiple roles. On the one hand, authority can contribute to ending or preventing conflicts because the conflicting parties accept a third party as an authority that ultimately decides about the conflict. This can be in form of legal institutions and international organizations but also personalities such as kings or elders. On the other hand, authority can get in the way of finding resolutions or ending (armed) conflicts. This becomes rather evident in cases in which leaders of armed groups obstruct peace processes because they fear the loss of their authority.

Moreover, authority can be challenged in conflicts, for instance, by contesting its legitimacy. This is the case in anti-regime wars but also in mass demonstrations against governments or non-governmental organizations such as churches. These conflicts, at the same time, reveal the limited range of influence of authority which, under certain circumstances, is possibly based on international norms or a legal state order but simultaneously is confronted by competing authorities in local environments.

And finally, und certain conditions, authorities can even be strengthened by conflicts if they can display the challengers or rivals as a threat to the population that needs to be protected.

As a consequence, the questions arise like under which conditions actors and institutions will gain or lose authority in conflicts and what are the relevant characteristic (knowledge, gender, socio-economic status, representation) why authority is attributed to them?

You can download the program (in german) here and the abstracts (in german) here.


The Constitution of Peace: Current Debates and Future Perspectives (2012)


Poster ZT 2012

On the 11.-13.10.2012 the conference "The Constitution of Peace: Curren Debates and Future Perspectives" was organized by the Center for Conflict Studies.

It has become a commonplace in academic scholarship to regard peace as an ontologically suspicious concept, as troubling in its own way as war, to use Jean Bethke Elshtain’s words. It is thus surprising that despite recent scholarship the term still remains largely under-studied and under-theorised. If we follow contemporary criticism regarding the prevailing conceptualisation of peace—that it is firmly embedded in liberal thought, for example—the question arises whether it is possible to consider alternative ways of thinking peace. Moreover, since practises of building peace have come under severe criticism from both an empirical and a conceptual perspective, it is time to consider new approaches. The conference seeks to push the debate forward by proposing and discussing alternative ways of understanding peace. This may take conceptual and/or empirical forms.

The objective of the conference is therefore twofold:

First, it seeks to review current criticism of the prevailing conceptionalisation of peace and to envisage alternative forms which respond to these critiques. Inter alia, the conference seeks to analyse the liberal peace paradigm from various perspectives including post-structuralism, feminism and post-colonialism.

Second, from an empirical perspective, it aims at investigating current peace-building practises to highlight their strengths and weaknesses regarding the conceptualisation and implementation of peace (building) programmes, and the relationship between global peace-builders and local people affected by violence (and peace) among other perspectives.

The paper presented address the following questions and related issues:

  • <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[endif]-->How can peace be conceptualized differently? Can violence be transformed into forms of peace that go beyond the prevailing paradigm of liberal peace?
  • <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[endif]-->Do critical approaches such as post-structuralism, feminist or post-colonial perspectives offer new and relevant insights?
  • <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[endif]-->As peace-building is often approached via external intervention, what role do people affected by violence and peace play in peace building initiatives and how do external agents interact with them?
  • <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[endif]-->Are there locally situated definitions of peace that may extend – or contradict – notions of peace introduced from the outside?
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->How do common mechanisms of peace building programmes, such as state-building, democratization, security-sector reform, etc., foster or impede peace processes?
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->What are the lessons learned in peace building practice, and what do we acquire from this with regard to theory building and new practical approaches?
  • <!--[if !supportLists]--><!--[endif]-->How can we conduct research into peace building and what methodological challenges need to be considered?

For a confernce report published by Annika Henrizi in German in the journal Wissenschaft & Frieden see here.

The programme is available here.

Organisers: Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Annika Henrizi, Anne Lang, Julia Viebach, Robert Nagel

Transitional Justice: Local Conflicts, Global Norms (2010)


Poster Zenturmstage 2010

On the 23.-25.03.2010 the conference "Transitional Justice - Local conflicts, Global Norms" was organized by the Center for Conflict Studies.

The concept transitional justice (TJ) is rapidly gaining in significance as a way of dealing with the past of a violent conflict or genocide. It refers to processes and mechanisms of addressing the legacy of past violence in order to promote the transition to peace and security in a divided society. This may include retributive justice in form of punishment through trials and tribunals as well as restorative justice aiming at restoring community relations through e.g. truth commissions or memory work. Given the global reach of the concepts the conference asks how these globally established norms relate to the particularities of local conflicts where they are being applied and what impact they have on peaceful co-existence after extreme violence.

The term transitional justice was first used in the 1990s to describe a time of change which marked the ‘transition’ from a violent to a peaceful society, thereby establishing ties with the wider debate about democratisation and peace building in post-conflict societies. Its special contribution to the debate is that the phase of change is closely linked with the pursuit of justice. TJ is based on the assumption that the transition to peace after violent conflicts or dictatorship requires a clear break from injustices and the amelioration of human rights abuses and war crimes. Hence, it is not only retrospectively aimed at the past but also towards a future of peace. In concrete, the aims of transitional justice can be summarised as: uncovering the truth about crimes, identifying those responsible and holding them accountable, restoring the dignity of the victims, encouraging reconciliation and peaceful coexistence, as well as preventing future conflicts and criminal offenses.

Despite the novelty of the concept the there has been a boom of practical activities and academic discussions over the past years. Against this backdrop we would like to pay particular attention to the normative content of the concept. The objective of our conference is a critical engagement with transitional justice processes, in particular the globalisation of the normative construct of justice in relation to post-conflict peace-building and the local particularities of non-Western societies.

Find the poster and the programme of the conference.

For further Information please contact transitional-justice@staff.uni-marburg.de.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 19.10.2016 · Tomovic · Beitragende: Judith von Heusinger

Zentrum für Konfliktforschung

Zentrum für Konfliktforschung, Ketzerbach 11, D-35032 Marburg
Tel. +49 6421/28-24444, Fax +49 6421/28-24528, E-Mail: konflikt@staff.uni-marburg.de

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