The Democratic Civil Peace and Beyond: Scott Gates Interviewed by Nils Petter Gleditsch

Scott Gates as Director of the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW) in 2009. Photo: Marit Moe-Pryce / PRIO

‘Strong critical theory doesn’t play a big role in peace science anymore, or even in peace studies’, states American political scientist Scott Gates in this conversation with his long-term collaborator Nils Petter Gleditsch. Scott calls for more and better recording of data disaggregated in time and space; more work that takes advantage of quasi-experimental designs and other methods through which we can better ascertain causal inference; and further use of data from social media to better appreciate such phenomena as the relationship between social media use and protest activities.

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Karaoke politics: the Bulgarian election results in limbo

On 4 April, while some countries celebrated Easter and spring break, Bulgarians all around the world cast their votes in one of the most exciting parliamentary elections in decades. In Majorstuen, Oslo, over 500 people waited for up to 3 hours at the Bulgarian embassy to exercise their right to vote. It wasn’t only in Norway that citizens had to wait: pictures of the queues of voters from four continents flooded Bulgarian social media in a long-anticipated election.

July 2020, Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo: SevSab via Wikimedia Commons

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Can the effects of climatic change predict asylum migration to Europe?

Five years after the European migration and refugee crisis, displacement remains a pressing issue worldwide. According to the UNHCR, the global number of forcibly displaced people passed 80 million during 2020 – the highest estimate ever recorded. Several factors have contributed to this increase, including a rise in political violence and instability, extreme weather events, and – most recently – knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With adverse impacts of climate change increasingly unfolding in real-time, concerns are mounting that the world will see a dramatic increase in migration in coming decades.

Migrants crossing the Greek countryside. (CC BY)

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Norwegian Quarantine Hotels: Infection Control or Penal Measure?

Quarantine hotels and Easter trips

According to the Norwegian government, quarantine hotels are an infection-control measure. In this blog post we contest this view, and argue that the rules are penal in character. “We” are all Norwegian: four medical doctors, one psychologist, and three jurists.

Photo: MedAssure

The rules distinguish between “necessary” and “unnecessary” travel, but the virus does not distinguish between reasons for travelling. The explanation for the rules is not that people who have travelled for particular reasons need to be treated differently from other travellers. Instead, we suggest, the rules are designed to discourage people from making journeys that the government considers unnecessary.Read More

Why digital vaccine passports are a bad idea: the Norwegian perspective

Expanding the use of Covid-19 digital vaccine passports to domestic purposes would in practice represent a return to the checkpoint permit (in Norwegian ‘passerseddel’, in German “Passierschein”), a form of internal passport. This type of document is associated with authoritarian regimes and with war and conflict, last used in Norway during the Second World War.

Photo illustration: Lukaas via Unsplash

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The Debate on Structural Racism Is Far More Polarized Than It Needs to Be

A lack of a sense of belonging is destructive. So perhaps it is wise to examine both structural racism and everyday racism more closely, also in Norway, writes Marta Bivand Erdal.

Photo: Amnesty

The police killing of George Floyd and the ensuing demonstrations that occurred both in the United States and in Norway, put anti-racism on the agenda in the summer of 2020. The public debate about these demonstrations and Black Lives Matter rapidly became just as polarized as debates on immigration. Subsequently debates in Norway have been focused around concepts and approaches to studying racism – debates which have arguably also became far more polarized than might have been the case.Read More

Closed Borders, but Continued Migration?

Passing a year on from the massive closure of borders globally in March 2020 offers an opportunity to reflect on migration, borders and the pandemic. What has been the impact of closed borders on international migration? And what do some impacts look like: seasonal work, remittances, risk and recognition?

Illustration: Indigo Trigg-Hauger

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An Already Failing Peace Process Betrayed in Myanmar

These are some of the over 6500 civilians in northern Karen State who have fled their homes since fighting resumed in December 2020. They are still in the hiding. Photo: Free Burma Rangers

The February 1st military coup in Myanmar and the massive demonstrations that followed have deservedly gained the world’s attention. The people of Myanmar have had their taste of democracy, however fragile it was, and now refuse to let go of it. But what about peace in Myanmar?

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