Anders Themnér (formerly Nilsson)

Assistant Professor

Research | Teaching | Publications | Other

Research Areas

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR); ex-combatant violence; informal military networks in post-conflict societies, post-civil war democratization, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.

Current Research

Demagogues of Hate or Shepherds of Peace? Why Warlord Democrats (Re)securitize Wartime Identitiesships

Democratization has been identified as a crucial mechanism when building peace after war. A by-product of such processes is that ex-warlords often ‘reinvent’ themselves as democrats. Even if it may be necessary to embrace such ‘warlord democrats’ (WDs) to prevent them from returning to war, there are also considerable risks involved. In their quest for votes it is not uncommon that they use their electoral platforms to incite fear and cement wartime cleavages. They can either do this by using inflammatory rhetoric or engaging in confrontational electoral behavior. At worst, such actions can undermine democratic institutions and trigger new outbursts of violence. To improve efforts to build stable and accountable democracy in post-civil war societies, it is therefore crucial to understand when and why WDs seek to (re)securitize wartime identities – held as speech acts and electoral practices that aim to keep war-affected communities polarized and in fear of each other. This project seeks to address this puzzle by comparing WDs in Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. The project is funded by Swedish Research Council (Development Research Section) and Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond

Arrested Development: The Dangerous Mix of Patronage and Justice in Post-Conflict Countries

How to deal with perpetrators of war crimes has been identified as a key component of peacebuilding. There is a growing literature analyzing the correlation between amnesties and civil war duration and investigating claims that war-crime tribunals have a positive long-term impact on security. A central shortcoming in this literature is that it does not take into account what happens to post-war societies at the moment leaders are arrested. In fact, arrests can be likened with systemic shocks that threaten the wellbeing of wartime leaders’ constituencies and can result in renewed violence. The purpose of this project is therefore to investigate why the detention of former wartime leaders generate organized violence in some instances, but not in others. The study employs a mixed-method approach; the findings from a quantitative study of post-armed conflict arrests in the world (1946 to 2015), will be contrasted with insights from a structured, focused comparison between the incarceration of Slobodan Milošević (ex-Yugoslavia) and Charles Taylor (Liberia). The project is funded by Swedish Research Council (Development Research Section).

Administration and Teaching

Head of the Claude Ake Visiting Chair Committee, Department of Peace and Conflict Research/Nordic Africa Institute.

Course co-convenor and lecturer, “International Conflict Resolution”, (15 ECTS credits), within the Master Program in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Course convenor, “Local Perspectives on International Peace- and Statebuilding Interventions”, (7,5 ECTS credits), within the Master Program in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Responsible for the Minor Field Study (MFS) program at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

Thesis supervisor on the undergraduate and master-levels.

Publications 

Peer Reviewed Monographs and Edited Books

Themnér, Anders (ed.) (2017), Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics, London: Zed Publishing.

Themnér, Anders (2011), Violence in Post-Conflict Societies: Remarginalization, Remobilizers and Relationships, London & New York: Routledge.

Nilsson, Anders (2008), Dangerous Liaisons: Why Ex-Combatants Return to Violence: Cases from the Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, Uppsala: Uppsala University.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles 

Sjöstedt, Roxanna, Mimmi Söderberg-Kovacs, and Anders Themnér (forthcoming), “Demagogues of Hate or Shepherds of Peace? Examining the Threat Construction Processes of Warlord Democrats in Sierra Leone and Liberia,” Journal of International Relations and Development.

Themnér, Anders and Mats Utas (2016), “Governance through Brokerage: Informal Governance in Post-Civil War Societies,” Civil Wars, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 255-280.

Themnér, Anders (2015), "Former Military Networks and the Micro-Politics of Violence and Statebuilding in Liberia," Journal of Comparative Politics, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 334-353.

Themnér, Anders, and Thomas Ohlson (2014), "Legitimate Peace in Post-Civil War States: Towards Attaining the Unattainable," Conflict, Security & Development, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 61-87.

Themnér, Anders (2013) “A Leap of Faith: When and How Ex-Combatants Resort to Violence,” Security Studies, 22 (2): 295-329.

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

Themnér, Anders (2017), "Warlord Democrats in Africa: Wartime Investments, Democratic Returns", in Anders Themnér (ed.), Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics, London: Zed Publishing.

Themnér, Anders (2017), "Ambiguous Peacelords: The Diminishing Returns of Democracy", in Anders Themnér (ed.), Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics. London: Zed Publishing.

Themnér, Anders and Carrie Manning (forthcoming 2017), "Discourses of Peace and Fear: The Electoral Navigations of Sekouh Conneh and Prince Johnson in Post-War Liberia", in Anders Themnér (ed.), Warlord Democrats in Africa: Ex-Military Leaders and Electoral Politics. London: Zed Publishing.

Themnér, Anders (2012), “A Disempowering Peace: Explaining Why Ex-Combatants Reengage in Organized Violence”, in Thomas Ohlson (ed.), Conflict and Resolution in Africa since the End of the Cold War. Dordrecht: Republic of Letters Publishing, pp. 239-263.

Themnér, Anders (2012), “Former Mid-Level Commanders in Big Man Networks”, in Mats Utas (ed.),  African Conflicts and Informal Power: Big Men and Networks. London: Zed Publishing, pp. 205-223.

Teaching Materials

Themnér, Anders (2012), "Demobilisering och säkerhetsreform", in Karin Aggestam and Kristine Höglund (eds.) Om krig och fred. En introduktion tilld freds- och konfliktstudier. Lund: Studentlitteratur, pp. 267-272.

Other Publications

Brosché, Johan, Karen Brounéus, Hanne Fjelde, Erika Forsberg, Håvard Hegre, Lisa Hultman, Kristine Höglund, Mathilda Lindgren, Erik Melander, Isak Svensson, Anders Themnér and Peter Wallensteen (2015), ”Nio punkter för global fred”, Upsala Nya Tidning, September 25, 2015.

Themnér, Anders (2015), “The Ties that Bind: Ex-Military Command Structures as a Foundation for Peace or Source for Insecurity?” blogpost in Mats Utas,  December 11. Available at <https://matsutas.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/the-ties-that-bind-ex-military-command-structures-as-a-foundation-for-peace-or-source-for-insecurity-by-anders-themner/>.

Contributing author (2015), The Future of Swedish Research! Overview 2014 Development Research, Stockholm: Swedish Research Council.

Contributing author (2015), Forskningens Framtid! Ämnesöversikt 2014 Humaniora och Samhällsvetenskap, Stockholm: Swedish Research Council.

Utas, Mats, Anders Themnér and Emily Lindberg (2014), “Commanders for Good and Bad: Alternative Post-War Reconstruction and Ex-Commanders in Liberia,” Policy Note 6 (The Nordic Africa Institute).

Swain, Ashok, Ranjula Bali Swain, Anders Themnér and Florian Krampe (2012), “Zambezi River Basin: A Risk Zone of Climate Change and Vulnerability”, New Routes 17 (3): 17-20.

Themnér, Anders, “General of Bikers,” blogpost in Anders Themnér, April 24, 2012. Available at <https://andersthemner.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/general-of-bikers/>.

Themnér, Anders, “Co-operation with generals – a necessary evil?” blogpost in Anders Themnér, October 20, 2011. Available at <https://andersthemner.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/co-operation-with-generals-%e2%80%93-a-necessary-evil/>.

Themnér, Anders, “Report from Monrovia: ‘You go where the sunshine is,’” blogpost in Anders Themnér, October 5, 2011. Available at <https://andersthemner.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/6/>.

Swain, Ashok, Ranjula Bali Swain, Anders Themnér and Florian Krampe (2011), Climate Change and the Risk of Violent Conflicts in Southern Africa, Pretoria: Global Crisis Solutions.

Nilsson, Anders (2009), Informal Military Structures and Mid-Level Commanders: An African Outlook, Stockholm: Swedish National Defence College.

Nilsson, Anders (2005), Reintegrating Ex-Combatants in Post-War Societies (2005),

Stockholm: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Nilsson, Anders (2003), “Another Brick in the Wall: The Israeli Wall”, in Jenny Alge (ed.), About a Culture of Peace. Stockholm: Christian Council of Churches.

Nilsson, Anders (2002), Making Peace with Islamists: Lebanon in Focus (2002), Uppsala: Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

Anders Themnér (formerly Nilsson)
Assistant Professor

E-mail: anders.themner@pcr.uu.se
Phone: +46 (0)18 471 71 75
Fax: +46-(0)18 69 51 02
P.O. Box 514
SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden