SEMINAR: What Happens When Governments Negotiate with Criminal Networks? Case Studies from the Americas (30 October 2013, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC)

Date: October 30, 2013
Time: 9:00am to 12:15pm
Venue: Fifth Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004


  • Marcelo Fabián Sain, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes: Argentina
  • Graham Denyer Willis, University of Toronto: Brazil
  • Max Yuri Gil Ramirez, Corporación Región: Colombia
  • Marcela Smutt, UNDP: El Salvador
  • Edward Maguire, American University: The United States, Trinidad and Tobago

Invitation to follow.

NEWS: 2014 Visiting Fellowships, University of Nottingham, UK

2014 Visiting Fellowships

The University of Nottingham’s International Office is pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 Visiting Fellowship Scheme, which will allow 30 early career researchers from outside the European Union (EU) the opportunity to complete a three month period of research in Nottingham.

What are the aims of the 2014 Visiting Fellowship Scheme?

  • Promote research collaboration between leading groups in Nottingham and partner countries through projects undertaken initially at Nottingham
  • Support capacity development with universities in the partner countries
  • Enable Visiting Fellows to obtain insight into the organisation and conduct of research, training and administration at Nottingham
  • Help support developing partnerships and identify possible new partnerships in the partner countries

For more information, please click here.

WORKSHOP: Beyond international security: social security and social welfare in the Middle East and North Africa – what are the research and policy choices? (3 December 2013, University of Bath, UK)

Date: 3 December 2013

Time: 09.00 – 17.30

Venue: Chancellors’ Building, University of Bath, UK

Programme: For the full workshop programme, please see the Call for Participants(pdf)

Who should attend: This workshop is open to interested participants from academia, the governmental and non-governmental sectors. Please register your interest in attending the workshop by emailing the network coordinator, Dr Rana Jawad at

Presenting a paper: Colleagues wishing to present a paper should email a  250 word abstract to Rana Jawad at by  25 October 2013.

Financial Matters and Bursaries for PhD Students: The workshop will be free of charge with a limited number of places available. A small number of travel bursaries for PhD students will also be available on a first come first served basis as follows: up to a maximum of £100 for UK-based PhD students and up to £200 for PhD students coming from overseas.

NB: Please note that priority of attendance will be given to delegates who are directly involved through their professional activities or academic research in an area of social policy or international security that is relevant to the workshop.

About this workshop: To mark the recent establishment of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Social Policy Network which is dedicated to the promotion of research on issues of social protection and social welfare in the MENA region, we are pleased to announce that our first workshop is to be held on Tuesday 3 December 2013 at the University of Bath’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR), Bath, UK.

Social security to protect the local populations of the MENA region from poverty and deprivation has – at long last – become an issue of major international concern – on a par perhaps, with the more traditional concern of international security. Both national governments in MENA and global development agencies (led by the ILO, World Bank, DFID and UN agencies) are now seeking to articulate new social visions for this region’s diverse populations based on a regime of (a) social assistance and cash transfer programmes and (b) the promise of extended social security coverage. But what are the prospects for social protection as a tool for policy analysis in the MENA region and are there no already existing forms of social solidarity and social mobilization which contribute to the formation of viable future social policies?

The aim of this workshop is to highlight the pivotal importance of social justice and social welfare issues affecting local populations in the MENA region and to present the case for social policy as a vital form of public intervention aimed at solving the enormous social problems that this region faces. Moreover, the workshop will explore the particular trajectory of social policy in the MENA region and the tremendous scope for effective social activism which already exists there (prior to the Arab spring). Empirical research from around the MENA region, though limited in scope has shown already that local populations have long mobilised around issues of social justice on both secular and religious grounds yet these forms of action have received little attention from the public media and mainstream public policy debates.  Indeed, MENA countries have in operation systems of both state and non-state welfare provision which as yet, have received hardly any scrutiny in terms of their wider social impact.

This workshop will offer the first opportunity to take stock in a research-informed forum of the specificity of social welfare initiatives in the MENA region and crucially, what choices now lie ahead for researchers and policymakers working in this field.  The two main outputs from the workshop will be a report that sets out some of the key discussions and a suitable plan for future action by the network; as well as the preparation of a themed section on some key papers from the workshop to be published at a later date in an international journal.

NEWS: Scholarships for foreigners in Argentina and for Argentinians to go abroad

The “Programa de Becas Internacionales de Posgrado” by the Argentinian Ministry of Education has put together some useful information about postgraduate scholarships.

For foreigners that want to study in Argentina, click here.

For Argentinians that want to study abroad, click here.

CONFERENCE REPORT: ISA-PSS Joint Conference on “Security Challenges in an Evolving World”

By Susan Hoppert-Flaemig

As posted in the news section recently, blog members Susan Hoppert-Flaemig, Verena Brähler, Juan Carlos Ruiz, and Alejandra Otamendi presented a panel at the ISA-PSS Joint Conference on “Security Challenges in an Evolving World” in Budapest on 27 June 2013.

One of our motives of establishing was the wish to create a network to share our experiences, questions, doubts, and successes as young scholars in our field. Methodological and ethical issues are certainly an important part of our research and, from our point of view, require constant debates.

We therefore proposed and realised a panel on “Researching (In)Security and Violence: Diffusion in Methodology” at the Budapest Conference. Drawing on our own field research, we used the panel to discuss topics ranging from practical aspects such as gaining field access to deeper ethical concerns about cross-cultural research:

  • Verena Brähler: Gaining and Maintaining Access when Researching on Security, Organised Crime, and Violence (based on field research in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil);
  • Susan Hoppert-Flaemig: Cultural Limits of Ethical Standards: Written Consent as an Obstacle for Research in Non-European Cultures (elaborated on the discrepancy between ethical standards at British universities and practical challenges of field research in El Salvador);
  • Juan Carlos Ruiz: Methodological challenges to study violence in Latin American excluded communities;
  • Alejandra Otamendi: Use of Secondary Quantitative Data to Study Crime and Crime Perceptions in the Case of Public Punitiveness in Buenos Aires.

The presentations can be found here.

The presentations were followed by a lively debate about obstacles and risks in researching in a vulnerable and violent environment and about the usefulness of ethical standards; and we very much appreciated the input of our discussant Edmund Pries from Wilfried Laurier University (Canada).

Having attended a number of presentations of other panels at the conference, we got the impression that a lot of security research is still being undertaken by those disciplines that traditionally dominate security research, namely political science and international relations. Within these disciplines, many projects were working with quantitative data. Contributions from other disciplines such as anthropology and sociology as well as projects working with qualitative data were less represented.

Reflecting on the implications of this, we agreed that our network is open to a diverse range of methodologies and disciplines studying security. However, we also came to the conclusion that our particular strengths are expertise in grassroots and hands-on approaches, as well as heightened awareness for the implications of our research for the communities and societies we are working with.

Interview with Researchingsecurity

In an interview conducted by Felicitas Röhrig, Researchingsecurity members talk about their experiences of researching security, organised crime and violence in Latin America.

The interview was published on the website of our partner organisation, the Latin American Bureau.

Latin America: Researching crime, violence and security

Latin America: Researching crime, violence and security

Published on: Sun Jun 30, 2013
Author: Felicitas Röhrig
Source: Researching Security

Researching Security is a LAB Partner organisation which has established a blog to share research interests and experience. RS members were interviewed by Felicitas Röhrig.

Researching security, violence and organised crime is fraught with methodological and ethical concerns and presents common barriers across disciplinary fields. These issues become particularly pressing for early career researchers with little experience, few connections, and scarce resources. As such, a blog entitled Researching Security ( was established in 2011 by PhD students as a means through which to diffuse experiences in relation to criminal, (in)security and violence research. Not only is the platform provided useful to discuss common problems, competing methodologies and share concerns over ethics, the forum has also proved to be popular around the world – reaching a concentrated range of readers and commentators in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, the UK and the US – but also as far as Indonesia and Syria.

As in 2013, the blog has become partners with one of the leading UK Think Tanks on Latin American politics, the Latin American Bureau ( In June 2013, some of the blog members will speak on the Joint International Conference of the Peace and Security Studies and International Studies Association (PSS-ISA), presenting and discussing field research insights and techniques with a wider audience. In anticipation of the conference, some blog members have talked about their thoughts, motivation and experiences in their field.

The recent partnership with LAB and your invitation to speak on the PSS-ISA conference in Budapest show that there is considerable demand for the information you share on the Researching Security Blog. Can you tell me what gave you the idea to create it in the first place?

Verena Brähler: Some of us got to know each other on the annual PILAS Conference at the University of Cambridge in 2011. We realised that there was a huge lack of information on how to research security, organised crime and violence. At the same time we were very motivated and eager to challenge outdated analytical frameworks on how to research these issues. That’s why we decided to create a platform for better exchange between PhD students around the world who work on similar issues. Our blog is this platform.

Please continue reading here.

NEWS: Conference papers now online

We would like to draw your attention to our PhD researchers’  conference papers  that are now online and offer valuable insight into researching security and violence, principally in Latin America.


From physical to symbolic urban periphery: the heterogeneity of the inner-slum, Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Annual Conference, University of Manchester, UK, by Juan Carlos Ruiz (April 2013)


A Salvadoran Turnaround? The FMLN’s Response to Citizen Security Needs. 54 International Congress of Americanists, Vienna, by Susan Hoppert-Flämig (July 2012)

What can anthropologists offer to Security Studies? A report from the RAI Anthropology in the World Conference June 2012, London / UK, by Jenna Murray de López (June 2012)

Rural-Urban Migration in Chiapas, Mexico: Antenatal Violence and the Disappearing of the Midwife, Congreso Internacional Feminismo y Migración: Intervención Social y Acción Política, by Jenna Murray de López (February 2012)


Inecesárea: The Violence of Childbirth in Mexico, International Conference on Gendered Violence, University of Bristol, UK, by Jenna Murray de López (November 2011)


The Crisis of Forced Internal Displacement and the Struggle over the Right to Citizenship in Medellin, Workshop Panel: The Challenges of Access to Citizenship Rights, Latin American Studies Association Conference (LASA), by Elizabeth Kerr (2010)