Conflict, Security and Peace

Addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, the books and journal articles we publish in this area focus on the impact of vast power differentials and the issues that need to be addressed as a threat to human rights and international security, including conflict-based migration and political instability. 

Our aim is to publish innovative research that supports finding ways to protect groups that can be an easy target for violence and discrimination.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Conflict, security and peace, we aim to address the following goal:  

Conflict, Security and Peace

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In this article we identify the ways in which Leon Trotsky’s ideas constitute a powerful resource to understand the contemporary crisis of international relations and its historical roots in the 20th century. Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development has already been highlighted as a signal contribution by an established scholarship in and around the discipline of International Relations. While this is a welcome development, we contend that it has come at a significant cost, detaching Trotsky’s theoretical insights from his revolutionary politics. We employ a different mode of engagement with Trotsky’s ideas, focusing on the theory of Permanent Revolution as an expression of an original analysis of the dialectic between the national and the international. Far from being a theoretically detachable and politically erroneous appendage to the more fundamental and applicable concept of uneven and combined development, we argue that Permanent Revolution constitutes its necessary culmination, as well as Trotsky’s most significant contribution to classical Marxism. We then elucidate how, writing in the first half of the 20th century and applying his theory of Permanent Revolution, Trotsky was able to diagnose certain essential lines of political development – the rise and ongoing breakdown of American hegemony, the political degeneration and collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence and failure of the postcolonial independent nation states – tracing the long and crisis-ridden trajectory of international relations from the second half of the 20th century down to today.

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Drones are unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) whose technology has evolved rapidly over the past 15 years. Increasingly used in conservation to manage and monitor biodiversity, drones offer rich capabilities to observe in difficult terrain, have relatively affordable hardware costs and are likely to continue to proliferate rapidly in the years ahead. Drones are useful for tasks as diverse as monitoring wildlife poaching and illegal timber extraction, managing ecotourism and disaster responses, and tracking the regeneration or degradation of forests, and offer potential for more specialised tasks as their sensory payloads are developed. However, although associated technical issues and applications have been explored in wide-ranging ways within conservation science, there has been relatively little social-scientific engagement with drones to date. This leaves a gap surrounding the potential social benefits and risks of drones, as well as in interdisciplinary conversations. This introduction is the first of four papers under the heading ‘Drone ecologies’, building on an interdisciplinary workshop held under the same name at the University of Bristol in July 2021. Expanding from the plenary dialogues that opened this workshop, this introduction explores what interdisciplinary perspectives on drones can offer in addressing global social and ecological challenges, drawing on expertise from the fields of conservation biology, human and physical geography, rainforest ecology and environmental systems. Setting out the aims of the overall special collection, we review here the ways that drones are being used, and might be used, in biodiversity conservation, setting out important considerations to minimise risks of inadvertent harms.

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Since the early 2010s, academic and policy debates about the interlinkages between climate and security have expanded and deepened. Climate is now widely acknowledged to magnify security risks especially in conflict or post-conflict contexts. This relationship is viewed as complex, dynamic and indirect, involving a wide range of intermediate variables. However, this discussion – and hence, related policy efforts – have tended to occur at highly aggregate levels of analysis, especially national, regional and global ones. Instead, this paper addresses climate-sensitive peacebuilding at the local level. What does local climate-sensitive peacebuilding look like on the ground? What are the promising areas for research and policy responses in fragile and conflict-affected settings? After offering a broad overview of climate-sensitive peacebuilding, we focus on the case of Afghanistan, drawing on specific examples that were in place prior to the 2021 return to power of the Taliban. We find that the traditional Western approach in the country – top-down, focused on hard security rather than human security and highly state-centric – tends to ignore the impacts of climate change. In addition, the dominant security paradigm overlooks the potential of local peacebuilding initiatives that address adaptation and resilience. We argue that climate-sensitive peacebuilding offers a bottom-up alternative to addressing the intersection of these risks in conflict-affected settings.

Open access
A Guide to Research in Violent and Closed Contexts

Using detailed insights from those with first-hand experience of conducting research in areas of international intervention and conflict, this handbook provides essential practical guidance for researchers and students embarking on fieldwork in violent, repressive and closed contexts.

Contributors detail their own experiences from areas including the Congo, Sudan, Yemen, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Myanmar, inviting readers into their reflections on mistakes and hard-learned lessons. Divided into sections on issues of control and confusion, security and risk, distance and closeness and sex and sensitivity, they look at how to negotiate complex grey areas and raise important questions that intervention researchers need to consider before, during and after their time on the ground.

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How research can inform public services

This book provides a timely and novel contribution to understanding and enhancing evidence use. It builds on and complements the popular and best-selling “What Works?: Evidence-based policy and practice in public services" (Davies, Nutley and Smith, Policy Press, 2000), by drawing together current knowledge about how research gets used and how this can be encouraged and improved. In particular, the authors explore various multidiscipliary frameworks for understanding the research use agenda; consider how research use and the impact of research can be assessed; summarise the empirical evidence from the education, health care, social care and criminal justice fields about how research is used and how this can be improved and draw out practical issues that need to be addressed if research is to have greater impact on public services. “Using evidence" is important reading for university and government researchers, research funding bodies, public service managers and professionals, and students of public policy and management. It will also prove an invaluable guide for anyone involved in the implementation of evidence-based policy and practice.

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Applying social policy
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People who work in planning, management and service delivery in the public sector need to know how policy is translated into practice, what is happening, and whether a policy works. “Policy analysis for practice" introduces students and practitioners to the concepts, methods and techniques required to undertake the analysis and review of policy and its implementation. Focusing on developing understanding and skills for a growing area of practice, it combines material from public and social administration with examples and application to social policy and the social services. The book looks at ways to understand and analyse the main stages of the policy process: developing strategies, identifying aims, examining the situation, choosing methods, implementation and service delivery, and evaluating outcomes. It stresses throughout the role of policy analysis as a political, and not just a technical, activity. “Policy analysis for practice" is an original, thought-provoking text with a strong applied focus. It offers systematic, accessible coverage of wide-ranging literature, application to practical circumstances and the needs of people in the field and a direct relationship to vocational work in the management and administration of social services. It will be invaluable for students and practitioners in public policy, social policy and public sector management, in fields including central and local government, health and social care and the voluntary sector.

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