Yes, it’s possible to do research in conflict zones. This is how.

Studying active conflict zones in the 21st century is uniquely difficult. New forms of war and non-state armed actors blur the lines of the battlefield, and Westerners are increasingly targeted.

We have spent years researching the politics of warlords, rebels and foreign interventions in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Turkey-Syria borderland. These places have become increasingly perilous countries in which to work. But they remain of great concern for Western policymakers. And although innovative methods allow researchers to study certain elements of conflict from afar, fieldwork remains as important as ever. Without fine-grained, “on-the-ground” analysis, decision-makers may dangerously misunderstand the politics and players that shape the contours of war abroad.

So how can scholars conduct meaningful research in such challenging contexts?

To read more, go to: The Monkey Cage

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About Afghanopoly

I am an Assistant Professor of peace and conflict studies at Radboud University's Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM). I completed my PhD in Political Science at Northwestern University and Sciences Po under the supervision of Will Reno and Bertrand Badie. Among other things, I teach students about the politics of international intervention in Afghanistan and elsewhere. My research focuses on the political strategies that Afghan strongmen use to consolidate and legitimize their authority. I am particularly interested in how these actors manage to conduct their own forms of international relations. My field research brings me in contact with Afghan community leaders, politicians, diplomats and foreign military officers.
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