CALL FOR PAPERS: The Politics of Portrayal: a seminar on the forms and functions of representations of violence (19 October 2012, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Centre for Conflict Studies, Utrecht University in collaboration with EU Marie Curie SPBUILD Training Network.

The aim of this seminar is to gain insight into the historical and contemporary contest between parties for gaining control over the interpretation of violence, i.e., the portrayal of actors, motives, events, ideologies, and places in discourses on violence. The seminar examines – both empirically and conceptually – the ways in which images are constructed and framed, but also intends to gain insight in the functions of portrayal. Drawing on structurationism, we emphasize the need to examine the conditions of possibility for, and the constraints upon the politics of portrayal in particular cases. How do certain representations of violence contribute to (re)producing or contesting the established social order? Why and how are images contested and fought over? What is at stake for hegemonic and non hegemonic actors in these contestations?

We conjecture that the politics of portrayal fulfill at least three functions: (1) to recruit supporters for a state or non-state cause by propagating a discourse of othering and belonging;(2) to legitimize action in light of that cause; (3) to gain or continue to hold power over political, economic, juridical, and social measures that support the cause.

Methodologically, the social dynamics involved can be accounted for with the help of a multidisciplinary approach that combines elements from frame analysis, critical discourse analysis, and ethnographies of violence. More specifically, we would like to explore questions on discourse formation (how does a ‘hegemonic accord’ arise, how and why are people resistant or receptive to certain repertoires?); legitimization (how and why do audiences come to accept and support, or resist and oppose the course of action as proposed by protagonists as legitimate and justified?), and institutionalization (how does this contest translate into political and judicial measures and instruments , e.g. terrorist lists, neoliberal reforms, penal codes, decrees, resolutions, military interventions, detentions, as well as conventions and social rules)?

We recognize that the power to portray local incidents of violence, to position them in specific contexts of knowledge, has often been removed from the local societies in which they occur. From colonial racism, to the Cold War ideological stand-off, the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, different systems of “knowledge” have all produced “authorities” who define and interpret local incidents but also, and importantly, act upon these interpretations. The very tendency to place particular incidents of violence into a particular frame often involves reframing, which in turn may contribute to the distribution and persistence of those events in space and time. The portrayal of a bar room brawl as an ‘ethnic clash’, car-burnings in French suburbs as a ‘new intifada’, and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as ‘a weapon of war’ are all examples of how violent acts are increasingly framed in terms that are removed from – but certainly feed into -the local settings in which they occur. We are interested in these framing processes taking place in contexts of violence as well as on how local actors might contest and resist them. It is the dialectics of discourse, in which a variety of actors fight a discursive battle over image and self-image, the justification of violence, blame and accountability, which is at the core of the study of the politics of portrayal.

This workshop intends to address the above questions, by inviting a critical discussion supported by specific case studies and theoretical analyses from a range of study areas, disciplines, and practical experiences.


Jolle Demmers (UU), Luuk Slooter (UU), Gabriel Ruiz Romero (Autonomous University of Madrid), Alexandra Abello-Colak (Bradford University) and Ariel Sánchez Meertens (INCORE, University of Ulster)

Call for Papers

We invite theoretical and case study based papers from academics (both senior and PhD students) from inside and outside the SPBUILD network.

Please send in your abstract (200 words) before Monday 27 August 2012:

We have a limited budget for travel and accommodation.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Militarización de la seguridad ciudadana (December 2012, FLACSO, Ecuador)

El incremento de la delincuencia y el crimen organizado en América Latina es una constante en las últimas décadas, para enfrentar este fenómeno los gobiernos de cada país han optado por varias políticas y transformaciones en el tema de la seguridad interna. Por un lado, se han realizado reformas jurídico – constitucionales en el marco legal, y por otro lado, se han efectuado modificaciones doctrinarias en términos de roles y misiones de las institucionales encargadas de la seguridad.

En este contexto, la intervención de las fuerzas militares en aspectos policiales – como la seguridad interna y ciudadana – es una medida recurrente por parte de los gobiernos de la región que está puesta en debate y discusión en los momentos actuales, debido a que implica cambios doctrinarios y una modificación del “deber ser” militar. ¿Están las sociedades y los gobiernos latinoamericanos preparados para asumir las implicaciones de este tipo de medidas? ¿Existe un balance de las intervenciones ya existentes independientemente de la tendencia ideológica y política de cada gobierno?

Teniendo en cuenta este marco general, proponemos las siguientes líneas o campos específicos en los que se requiere profundizar:

  1. Competencias legales y reforma institucional para la presencia de las Fuerzas Armadas en la seguridad interna en la región.
  2. Costos y beneficios de la participación militar en la seguridad interna.
  3. Evaluación de derechos humanos y el uso de la fuerza militar en la seguridad interna.
  4. Doctrina y formación militar para la seguridad interna.

Fecha límite:

El mes de publicación de URVIO Nº 12 es: diciembre de 2012. La fecha límite para envío de propuestas: LUNES 3 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 2012.

Más informaciones:

Las personas interesadas en participar deberán mandar sus trabajos a la dirección de correo electrónico:

CALL FOR PAPERS: International Journal – STABILITY of Security & Development

Over the course of the past two decades, interventions to end conflicts, prevent conflict recurrence and foster peace have been launched across the world. These have involved transitional administrations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Timor-Leste as well as efforts aimed at countering insurgencies and gang violence in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chechnya, Mexico and elsewhere. Research, policymaking and programming in this area has been on the rise. It has brought together militaries, multilateral institutions, national aid agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international financial institutions, regional development banks, charities, the private sector and others.

While initially viewed as a form of international intervention in developing countries, many have come to recognise that stabilisation has long applied to national authorities attempting to combat organised crime and extend their authority in weakly-governed parts of their cities and countries, including in developed nations. This recognition has helped demonstrate the need for anthropologists, sociologists, criminologists, legal professionals and psychologists to enter into discourses such as stabilisation along with their colleagues in political science, international relations, economics and development studies.

This fusion of academic fields and the linking of international and national policymaking provide a tremendous opportunity for genuinely interdisciplinary research which directly applies to communities of policy and practice. Until this point, research into stabilisation and the nexus of security and development, broadly defined, has been fragmented across several journals and has often been published according to timelines that do not reflect the needs of policymakers and practitioners. Scholarly journals looking at these issues have published excellent research, though ensure a timeline publication process has not necessarily been prioritised. Evidence gathered in mid-2011 may not make its way into print until the end of 2012 or, likely, later. It would take longer still for this research to makes its way into policy and practitioner discourses.

Stability overcomes these limitations by:

  • Including a rigorous but expedited peer-review process;
  • Publishing articles online and without delay in the spirit of open-access;
  • Foregoing fees for users to access research (or for authors to publish);
  • Actively disseminating research into policy and practice communities; and
  • Accepting articles from experienced practitioners and policymakers alongside academics.

Unlike a number of open-access journals focused upon security studies and international development, Stability has not been established to feature the research of any particular institution, military, donor agency or company. It is supported by a wide range of institutions and is genuinely independent. The editors and peer reviews evaluate submissions strictly according to the quality of the research and the relevance of the findings to interventions in conflict-affected contexts.

Scope of the Journal

Stability welcomes articles from a range of disciplines, including political science, development studies, international relations, sociology, criminology, anthropology, psychology and the law, among others. The journal will focus upon stabilisation through international missions as well as by governments within their own territories. This may include crime prevention efforts or counter-narcotics strategies insofar as they include a range of means and tactics (e.g., coercive force, diplomacy, communications, humanitarian or development assistance, etc.). However, for demonstration purposes, the following topics would likely appear relatively regularly:

  • Civil-military interaction
  • Conflict prevention/risk reduction
  • Constitutional and legislative affairs
  • Correlates of conflict
  • Corruption and illicit networks
  • Counterinsurgency tactics
  • Crime reduction
  • Demographics and human geography
  • Disarmament, demobilisation & reintegration
  • Economic growth and livelihoods
  • Governance and political legitimacy
  • International cooperation/organization
  • Judicial/justice sector reform
  • Law and legal regimes
  • Organised crime and gang violence
  • Peacekeeping or peace support operations
  • Security sector reform
  • Stability operations
  • State- and nation-building
  • Urban studies and challenges
  • Whole of government or whole of system approaches

Many other topics will be considered for publication. If you are uncertain as to whether your research would match this journal’s criteria, please contact the editors (

Article Types

Stability will primarily publish research articles but will also feature shorter “practice notes” and “commentaries” insofar as they are well informed, critical and contribute to knowledge and thinking in a useful manner.

  • Research articles must be between 5,000 and 8,000 words, including all notes but not including the reference list/bibliography. Under special circumstances, articles up to 10,000 words may be accepted for publication. Research articles should present original findings based upon rigorous empirical or theoretical research.
  • Practice notes must be between 2,000 and 4,000 words, including all notes but not including the reference list/bibliography. These should provide an account of a programme related to stabilisation which appears to be particularly effective, ineffective, innovative or otherwise notable. These should NOT comprise glowing case studies of projects implemented by the author or his/her organisation and must contribute useful analysis.
  • Commentaries should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words and should reflect upon or critique a “happening” such as a policy shift, release of a major study or other notable occurrence related to stabilisation. Commentaries are particularly welcome from distinguished specialists. Authors interested in submitting a commentary piece should discuss the content with the editors before submitting a manuscript.

In order to ensure a smooth and quick peer-review, editing and publishing process, authors must adhere to all basic rules of grammar and to Stability’s style guide. The full style guide is available online at, though key elements are also included in an appendix to this call for papers.

Submitting Your Article

Authors should send their submissions to Your submission must include an abstract (150-250 words), a brief biography for each author (not to exceed 100 words each) and complete contact details for the (one) corresponding author. All identifying information will be removed from the article before it enters the peer-review process.

More Information

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Issue of Peace, Conflict, & Development: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Thinking about Peace Research in 21st Century Latin America (December 2012 Special Issue)

The idea for this special issue originated from the Latin American Research Group (LARG) of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. The Group was initiated and is run by PhD researchers, working on different aspects of peace and conflict issues in Latin America. With the forthcoming publication we would like to initiate a debate beyond the boundaries of our institution on what such a perspective can add to research on Latin America.

Theme of the Special Issue

With the end of military dictatorships in the Southern Cone and the signing of peace accords after Central American civil wars, most conflicts in Latin America were assumed to belong to the past. Consequently, the region has been overlooked by peace research. Nevertheless, in many countries of the region violence has only further escalated in the last 30 years. Countries such as Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico are now considered to be some of the most violent countries in the world. Fuelling both violent conflict and structural injustice is economic inequality together with impunity, lack of rule of law, and continuing human rights abuses. These issues prompted various theoretical explanations.  But a Peace Studies perspective that challenged prevalent definitions of war, conflict and peace is missing from these explanations.

This Special Issue invites critical and innovative contributions on distinct Peace Studies perspectives into issues impacting the region. Peace Studies, here, is understood as a multidisciplinary field that explores and understands conflict and its structural issues. Submission should contribute to raising new awareness of continuing and new conflicts in the region. At the same time, options to overcome conflicts could be analysed, and examples of encouraging work for peace may be presented. We particularly urge young researchers and practitioners to submit academic articles, fieldwork reports, and book reviews in English. Some examples of thematic aspects include:

  • Regional development and conflict resolution/prevention
  • Peacebuilding and political systems
  • Critical theories and concepts of Peace Research applied to Latin America (e.g. structural violence, positive peace, conflict transformation, power and empowerment)
  • The role of the State in the reproduction of violence
  • Peace, restorative justice, and reconciliation
  • Economic inequality and social (in)justice
  • Civil society and social mobilisation
  • The impact of conflict on societies (focussing on areas such as gender, ethnicity, and race)

More information

Deadline for Submission: 1st June 2012

Release: December 2012

Papers must be in English and should be submitted to:

Please follow the submission guidelines in the Notes to Contributors section.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Second ISA Forum of Sociology, Social Justice and Democratization, Buenos Aires (1 – 4 August 2012)

Research Committee on Social Classes and Social Movements (RC47)

Subjective affirmation, social movement changes and construction of democracy

Session J: Civil society against violence

Jeff GOODWIN, New York University, USA,
Geoffrey PLEYERS, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium,

This panel will focus on the struggles of social movements and civil-society actors more generally against the violence generated by authoritarian states, civil wars, and drug trafficking. How do social actors and civil society attempt to stop violence? In what contexts and to what extent have their efforts been successful? Some mobilizations against state violence have played a key role in the collapse of dictatorial regimes, notably in Argentina. In other cases, when violence does not leave much space for mass mobilizations, cultural, expressive and artistic forms of resistance have nevertheless been emerging. The panel welcomes contributions drawing on case studies in Latin America and other regions.

Session L: Climate justice, “buen vivir” and voluntary simplicity: New lifestyles and political commitments

Geoffrey PLEYERS, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium,
Stewart LOCKIE, The Australian National University, Australia,

Across the world, social actors are showing growing concern about global warming and environmental devastations. While international institutions seem unable to cope with these challenges, grass-roots actors and activists’ networks are mobilizing support for a global agreement aiming at environmental protection and are developing alternative practices and visions of the world. The concept of ‘buen vivir’ illustrates the notable contribution of Latin American indigenous communities to the debate. In Europe and North America, citizens have appropriated alternative lifestyles, consuming less natural resources. This panel will focus on citizens’ initiatives and social movements envisioning to deal with environmental issues both by developing alternative lifestyles and promoting active participation in public debates.


  • On-line abstract submission from August 25 to December 15, 2011.
  • All Forum participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay the early registration fee by April 10, 2012, in order to be included in the programme. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Programme or Abstracts Book.
  • On-line registration will open August 25, 2011.

More information

CALL FOR PAPERS: Protecting Human Rights: Duties and Responsibilities of States and Non-State Actors, University of Glasgow (18 – 19 June 2012)

The Steering Committee of the American Political Science Association (APSA) Human Rights Section, the Council of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) Human Rights Research Committee, and the Executive Council of the International Studies Association (ISA) Human Rights Section announce their second joint international conference on the theme “Protecting Human Rights: Duties and Responsibilities of States and Non-State Actors” to take place on 18-19 June 2012 at the University of Glasgow, hosted by the Glasgow Human Rights Network.  This conference is timed to coincide with the joint International Studies Association-British International Studies Association conference to be held immediately after in Edinburgh (20-22 June).

The 2005 World Summit recognized the responsibility to protect.  While this may have, in sense, been a normative revolution, in another sense it was just one more in a long list of human rights responsibilities states have taken on over the last 65 years as the modern human rights regime has developed.  Less attention has been focused on the growing number of responsibilities accruing to non-state actors.  Further, while the discussion regarding responsibility to protect, to a large extent, has focused on military intervention, other responsibilities related to post-conflict situations, in particular, have been identified – such as those related to transitional justice and other post-conflict processes.  Yet, all of these international declarations and norm-making activities raise as many questions as they answer about the willingness of relevant actors to live up to their responsibilities, as well as potential conflicts between responsibilities.  This conference will examine the wide range of human rights duties and responsibilities accruing to state and non-state actors.  It will be significantly multidisciplinary in character, being open to legal, philosophical, political, sociological and other perspectives.

The conference will examine the following questions and topics, among others:

  • What is the nature of human rights responsibilities?
  • Have these responsibilities translated into appropriate action?
  • How do we define such appropriate action, and who holds these responsibilities?
  • How does the international community address conflicting responsibilities?
  • What types of human rights responsibilities do non-state actors have?
  • What is the relationship between rights, duties and responsibilities?
  • Dealing with past wrongs and failed responsibilities