Analyzing specific countries, we want to figure out why violence did not escalate despite high potential to do so, focusing in particular on the role of the security apparatus. The first case study will be used to help us develop and refine our expectations on why this might be the case. These expectations will be put to the test in additional case studies later in the project. 

Chile's transition from repressive military regime to secure democracy

In our first case study we focus on a country that experienced widespread repression, also perpetrated by irregular forces, but then managed to establish good human rights records and that did not suffer from an armed conflict for at least a decade. We use Chile as our case study since it suffered extensive repression under Pinochet, but then turned into a democracy with good human rights records and, particularly compared to its neighbours, low crime rates.

In the 1988 referendum, the Chilean electorate voted against extending Pinochet's role as president and in 1989 Patricio Aylwin of the Concertación was elected president. Why did the military not step in to turnover the outcome of the referendum or the elections? Why did the division among society between pro- and anti-military supporters not lead to violence between them? How did the shadow of the military shape the behaviour of the new government?  What compromises were made, for example on how to treat previous human rights violations, to avoid a resurgence of violence?

We carried out interviews with many individuals from different positions that were involved in the transition in Chile in October 2015. A paper based on our findings will be posted shortly.

Perception of peace in post-war societies

Based on our quantitative research and our first case study, we are developing three case studies to assess in more detail how the re-escalation of conflict could be prevented and how the nature and quality of post-conflict peace is perceived by society. Generating new survey data, supplemented with semi-structure interviews, we investigate how the media and armed forces shape these perceptions in Georgia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The surveys and interviews will be completed in 2018.