Department of Peace and Conflict Research

About the project

“Resolving Jihadist Conflicts? Religion, Civil War, and Prospects for Peace” is a research project funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and stretching over five years. It is led by Professor Isak Svensson at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.

One of the most pressing challenges on the contemporary agenda for peace and security is armed conflicts involving militant groups with self-proclaimed Islamist aspirations, such as IS (Islamic State) in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, we know surprisingly little about the conditions under which jihadist conflicts, partly or completely, may be resolved through peaceful means. In particular, there is a gap in peace and conflict research concerning if, how, and to what extent, our existing theories on conflict resolution are applicable to solve jihadist conflicts. The project sets out to fill this lacuna.

The purpose is to explore the potential, as well as the limitations, for conflict resolution in these contexts by examining the research question: under what conditions are jihadist conflicts likely to be resolved? In order to address this pertinent and highly complex research problem, this project brings together peace and conflict scholars with scholars of religious studies in general and Islam in particular, and we expect to see important synergy effects by doing so. Drawing on this multidisciplinary expertise, the project seeks to develop a theoretical framework that focuses on 1) who the actors are, 2) the issues at stake, and 3) the behavior of these actors. The project combines quantitative and qualitative research methods and analyzes and compares jihadist conflicts to other types of conflicts, and explores variations within jihadist conflicts.