Research Question and Goal

The history of modern societies and inter­national relations is often told as the gradual re­nunciation of violence: As a process of civili­zation that leads people to moder­ate their actions; as a process of state forma­tion that pacifies societies and leads to the monopo­lization of legitimate authority; as a process of increasing international inter­dependence that raises the costs of conflict to unac­ceptable levels; or as a pro­cess of juridifi­cation that leads states to re­nounce war and settle disputes peacefully.

Current trends, however, don’t show the over­coming of organized violence and rather point in the op­posite direction: all around the world, conflicts have again increased in intensity; globali­zation and techno­logical change enable new forms of war and terrorist violence; sys­tematic disregard for humanitarian law leads to greater ruthless­ness and targeted use of sexual violence, enslave­ment or outlawed weapons in warfare; nationalist move­ments openly ques­tion basic principles of peace­ful conflict resolution within and between states. Over­all, these develop­ments tend to point to trans­formations that chal­lenge existing norms and practices for con­taining political violence.

The inter­disciplinary research center "Transformations of Political Violence” examines these develop­ments and aims at identifying the con­sequences for intra-societal and inter­national peace and developing strategies to contain political violence under these changing con­ditions.