IPSR Special Issue: Change in Armed Conflict

IPSR Special Issue: Change in Armed Conflict

Publication date: Thu, 18 Jan 2024

IPSA’s flagship journal, the International Political Science Review (IPSR), kicks off the year with a special issue on “Change in armed conflict”. The new issue updates the agenda on change in armed conflict; it studies the phenomenon as a dynamic process rather than a static social equilibrium, embracing interdisciplinarity and methodological pluralism within a shared conceptual framework. 

Using five vectors of change – actors, methods, resources, environments and impacts – as a lingua franca across different approaches and perspectives, this issue provides three valuable contributions: First, it demonstrates the utility of bringing a critical perspective to bear on pre-existing categories and labels. Second, it emphasizes the significance of taking perceptions and experiences into consideration. Lastly, it underscores the value of scaling analyses across the different units and levels of analysis.

All the articles highlight the need to challenge – or relax the rigidity of – externally imposed categories and labels related to ‘armed conflict’, if only for purposes of initiating the analysis and then reintroducing these categories at a subsequent time. Understanding armed conflict as organized intergroup violence remains relevant over time; it avoids time-dependent concepts such as ‘states’. This understanding applies to pre-state system organized violence and a potential future in which states may cease to be protagonists of international order.

It holds across space locally, regionally, nationally and transnationally, avoiding labels that describe states as territories in ‘armed conflict’ or ‘peace’. This perspective is reflected in Rugo (2023)’s call for embracing grey zones and complexity; Dursun-Özkanca (2023)’s use of a ‘frozen conflict’ concept to emphasize that the absence of battle deaths does not imply the end of a conflict; Idler and Tkacova (2023)’s dynamic analytical unit, ‘conflict shape’, which ignores state borders; Nogales and Oldiges (2023) notion of non-lethal conflict events, such as protests; and Alderdice (2023)’s discussion of a conflict’s impact on people distant from and after the conflict. 

Special Issue: Change in Armed Conflict

Change in armed conflict: An introduction
Annette Idler

Changing responses to a frozen conflict: The Republic of Cyprus soft balancing vis-à-vis Turkey
Oya Dursun-Özkanca

Conflict shapes in flux: Explaining spatial shift in conflict-related violence 
Annette Idler, Katerina Tkacova

Multidimensional poverty and conflict events in Nigeria over time 
Ricardo Nogales and Christian Oldiges

The patch as method: The arts’ contribution towards understandings of conflict
Daniele Rugo

New insights into the psychology of individuals and large groups in a world of changing conflicts
John Lord Alderdice

Original Research Articles

Public support for the use of force in non-Western and non-major powers: The case of a China–Taiwan war
Charles K.S. Wu, Austin Horng-En Wang, Yao-Yuan Yeh and Fang-Yu Chen

Pathways to democracy after authoritarian breakdown: Comparative case selection and lessons from the past
Jean Lachapelle and Sebastian Hellmeier