Conflict networks


Nick Srnicek shows “the usefulness of actor-network theory for understanding conflict dynamics”:

Conflict Networks: Collapsing the Global into the Local.” Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies, Issue 2, 2010, pp. 9-30


Recent decades have seen a dual and simultaneous shift in conflict trends. With the end of the Cold War and superpower support, conflicts have become increasingly intrastate and increasingly localized, dependent for their sustenance upon local assistance and national resources. Yet this localization of conflict has coincided with the increasingly international aspect of conflicts, with humanitarian intervention and UN peacekeeping becoming ever more prevalent. The aim of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding these shifting relations between the global and the local. This is accomplished through an analysis of actor-network theory and its rejoinders to reductionist understandings of conflict. Rather the reducing the eruption of violence down to greed, grievance, or ancient hatred, actor-network theory aims to examine conflict networks and their specific composition of local, material, and global actors. Three aspects of these networks are highlighted in particular: the personal networks of local individuals, the material actors, and the conflict network as a system. With these clarified the final section turns to an analysis of some of the primary modalities through which global actors relate and embed themselves within local networks.

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