Month: August 2015

Oh my, not another ‘Festschrift’!

Eight years ago, I wrote a short piece for a Norwegian science policy journal lampooning the Festschrift as an outmoded form of academic communication. The Festschrift, I can hear some of my non-Scandinavian readers ask: Are such volumes still being published? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Of course, it is largely a self-financing enterprise. In… Read more »

Lethal Autonomous Weapons: Killing the ‘Robots-don’t-Rape’ Argument

Earlier this spring, we debated a law professor who insisted that lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) could clean up war. The professor posited that a war fought with autonomous weapons would be a war without rape. Taking humans out of the loop would, the argument goes, lead to more humane war. We find this narrative, where… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 32

Monday 3 August The SPLA claimed it has contained the inter-ethnic fighting in Western Equatoria state, creating a buffer zone between youth from Zande communities and armed Dinka cattle herders. The South Sudanese government presented a new diplomatic push towards strengthening its’ bilateral relationship with the government of neighbouring Sudan. In Yambio town, Western Equatoria, hundreds… Read more »

Institutional Characteristics and Regime Survival: Why Are Semi-Democracies Less Durable than Autocracies and Democracies?

In Zaïre (currently DR Congo) in 1991, the country’s personalist ruler Mobutu Sese Seko faced popular unrest, army mutinies, and shrinking resources for patronage. Mobutu was seemingly starting to lose his grip on power, which he had held since the mid-1960s. In response, Mobutu ended the decades-long ban on political parties other than his own… Read more »

Becoming One of Us: The Politics of Citizenship in France, Norway and the UK

Citizenship and naturalization legislation in France, Norway, and the UK has changed substantially more during the 2000s than in previous decades. In which areas of citizenship policy have changes occurred? And how do these changes relate to the trend of reinvigorating the citizenship institution to increase social cohesion? This blog post is an exerpt from… Read more »

Russia Insists on own Impunity, Gains Pariah Status

Exactly 40 years ago, the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), accepting commitments to respect the norms of international behavior and to observe the standards of human rights. The Kremlin had, in fact, no intention to relax domestic pressure on dissidents (who formed the… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 31 & 30

Monday 27 July President Obama and regional leaders agreed to pressure the two South Sudanese factions to agree to a peace agreement by Aug. 17, and threatened both sides with sanctions or other measures if they do not comply. Tuesday 28 July The think-tank International Crisis Group published a new report on the IGAD peace… Read more »

Impressions from Norway

This is the second of two guest blog posts by students who attended this year’s Peace Research course at the International Summer School 2015. My visit to Oslo, Norway, to participate in the International Summer School always had an element of pleasant surprise. It was my first time visiting; straight from the end of the Indian… Read more »