The Dossier aims to explore new trends and expressions of violence in armed conflict in the 21st century. Taking as a starting point the changing paradigm of armed conflict – from conventional wars with clear contours towards more non-linear, fragmented and protracted types of civil and international conflict — it adopts a broad approach to portray changing forms of violence across different types of armed conflicts (including terrorism, international/civil wars or urban warfare). In the context of a fragmenting international order, with increasingly blurred lines between state and non-state, combatant and civilian, domestic and international, the number of actors involved in conflicts and concurrent strategies of violence have multiplied. In face of the ubiquity of violent conflict — despite an overall decline in interstate conflict and global number of casualties — the Dossier aims to shed light on new or changing forms of violence, their contexts, actors and victims. It explores the novelty, heterogeneity, scales and vectors of violent practices in contemporary conflicts by investigating the impact of a series of factors such as new military technologies (drones, robots), new communication tools (social media), gender, migration, or the subcontracting of security to private actors.
© Chappatte in The International New York Times, www.chappatte.com
Today, we observe a renewed interest in the theme of decolonisation in three interrelated fields: in the academic world which opens new areas of research and teaching (e.g. decolonisation studies; decolonising the curriculum), in the practice of professionals and international actors who are revisiting their way of working, as well as in the vocabulary and activism of civil society targeting the remnants of colonial times such as street names, statues or museum objects. The renewed focus on decolonisation brings forth underlying issues such as the lingering of Eurocentrism, continued oppression of indigenous people, cultural relativism, the ongoing materiality of colonialism, the guilt of the West or, more generally, “the darker side of Western modernity”. While decolonisation has had a lasting impact on the political scene (with the decolonisation movements of the 1960s) and theoretically in the realm of academia, it lags behind in practice as processes, mentalities and epistemes are still permeated by “coloniality”. The present issue puts therefore decolonisation into historical perspective and provides fresh analytical perspectives on its epistemologies and methodologies as well as its practical application and consequences in various fields.
This issue has been coproduced by the Graduate Institute’s Department of International History and Politics and the Research Office. It also includes contributions from other research centres and departments of the Institute.
A Past That Keeps Questioning Us
Decolonisation: The Many Facets of an Ongoing StruggleReading time: 6 min
Varieties of DecolonisationReading time: 5 min
Decolonisation: Too Simple a Term for a Complicated HistoryReading time: 5 min
Decolonisation and RegionalismReading time: 5 min
Decolonising International PoliticsReading time: 5 min
Decolonising the GlobalReading time: 5 min
Decolonisation and International LawReading time: 5 min
Gender and DecolonisationReading time: 6 min
Decolonisation and HumanitarianismReading time: 4 min
Decolonisation and Global HealthReading time: 5 min
Decolonising EducationReading time: 4 min
Three Decolonial Questionings of the DigitalReading time: 5 min
Selected Publications from the Graduate Institute about Colonisation and DecolonisationReading time: 4 min
While the 20th century has been characterised by the generalisation of democratisation processes, the 21st century seems to have started with the reverse trend. An authoritarian-populist nexus is threatening liberal democracy on a global scale, including in its American and European heartlands. Charismatic leaders – thriving on electoral majorities and popular referenda – methodically undermine the rule of law and constitutional safeguards in order to consolidate their own power basis. Coupling inflammatory rhetoric with modern communication technologies, they short-circuit traditional elites and refuse to abide by international norms. Agitating contemporary scourges such as insecurity, loss of identity, mass migration and corrupt elites, they put in place new laws and mechanisms to harness civil society and political opponents. In order to better understand the novelty, permanence and global reach of “illiberal democracy”, this second issue of Global Challenges proposes seven case studies (Russia, Hungary, Turkey, the Middle East, Uganda, Venezuela and the United States) complemented by a series of expert interviews, maps and infographics.