Political instability and armed conflicts

The Department of Sociology and Political Science has an internationally recognized research community on Civil War, International Conflict and Political Instability. The research community has long had close cooperation with PRIO – The Peace Research Institute in Oslo. As part of this cooperation, Halvard Buhaug, researcher at PRIO, is employed as Professor II at the Department. Cooperation with PRIO also encompasses The Research School on Peace and Conflict where University of Oslo is also a partner.

In 2015, this priority area received a NTNU Onsager Fellowship. The Onsager Fellowship is a prestigious programme for recruiting young internationally recognized researchers. Assistant Professor, Charles Butcher, is employed in this position, and has strengthened the competence of the research community in their studies of social mobilization and non-violent resistance.

Our research in this priority area has a quantitative profile. The research community has PhD students in conflict research. The master degree course POL3502 Causes of war and the seminar series VIP (Violence, Institutions and Peace) are important channels for recruiting, supervising, and discussing research in these areas.

The research community on political instability and armed conflicts is involved in several major research projects in association with PRIO and other institutions. Two of these projects, CLIMSEC (financed by European Research Council) and CAVE (financed by the Research Council of Norway), seeks to illuminate possible direct and indirect relations between climate variation and violent conflict. There is also cooperation with the project AfricanBioServices, which, among other studies, will undertake a survey of climate change, shortage of resources and land conflicts in the border region between Kenya and Tanzania.

A long and extensive research project about the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s was recently completed. This project resulted in a number of books published by international publishers.