Conflict, Intervention and Social (Re)construction
Principal Investigators: Dana Eyre and Whit Mason
Since the end of the Cold War, international interventions have increasingly tried to create stable, peaceful states aligned with the norms that underpin the international system. They have virtually always fallen short of their goals, often spectacularly so. Indecision about how to respond to the deepening catastrophe in Syria reflects this record of failure. The threats that have prompted interventions - to human security within states and to international security among them - seem unlikely to diminish. More effective forms of intervention are urgently needed.
CISR is predicated on the notion that conflict must be addressed in the minds of conflict actors and that both the disposition that perpetuates conflict and the disposition that underpins a coalition for peace result from social processes. The challenge for interveners is to understand how they can catalyse, shape and amplify the social processes that replace the social constructions that perpetuate conflict with those that sustain peace.
A number of fields have developed insights into the processes involved in such change. CISR will bring together these insights and, in collaboration with practitioners, consider what implications they have for how interventions - ranging from small state-building projects like the EU's rule of law mission in Georgia to huge civil-military occupations like Kosovo and Iraq - could be more effectively organised and carried out, or whether they might better be avoided altogether.
The Conflict, Intervention and Social (Re)construction project report for 2014-2015 is available to read in the CIS Annual Report here.
Selected Publications by Whit Mason:
- 'A sense of justice can bring peace to war-weary Afghans' (The Australian, June 2010)
- 'Violence, development and the rule of law'(University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2008)
- 'Trouble in Tbilisi'(The National Interest, Spring 2005)
- 'Iran's Simmering Discontent' (World Policy Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring, 2002, pp. 71-80)
- 'The Future of Political Islam in Turkey'(World Policy Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2, Summer, 2000, pp. 56-67