My research focuses on the dynamics of violence during and after armed conflict. I am particularly interested in how violence transforms in response to peace operations and ceasefire agreements, which are my two key areas of subject expertise. To capture relevant shifts in violence I look at a wide range of armed actors beyond the main combatants, such as militia groups, private military and security companies, mercenaries, and communal groups. I use computational methods to disentangle the spatial and temporal dynamics of violence: When and where exactly does violence escalate or shift, and what does this tell us about actors’ motivations and constraints?
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Hellmüller, Sara; Xiang-Yun Rosalind Tan & Corinne Bara (2023) What is in a Mandate? Introducing the UN Peace Mission Mandates Dataset, Journal of Conflict Resolution, online first. Doi:10.1177/00220027231159.
UN peace operations are constantly evolving. Yet, we lack a detailed understanding of their shifting objectives. To address this gap, we present the UN Peace Mission Mandates (UNPMM) dataset with information on 41 mandate tasks, including not only peacekeeping operations, but political missions and Special Envoys/Advisors. We use it to highlight how peace operations have changed since the end of the Cold War, and what factors influence the kind of missions the UN is willing to authorize.
Bara, Corinne and Govinda Clayton (2022) Your Reputation Precedes You: Ceasefires and Cooperative Credibility During Civil Conflict, Journal of Conflict Resolution, online first. Doi:10.1177/0022002722112672.
Ceasefires involving the conflict government can have positive repercussions beyond the parties who sign them, at times encouraging other rebels in the country to sign ceasefires in turn or deescalate fighting. We believe this is because states who enter into and honor ceasefires develop a cooperative reputation that other rebel groups look to when deciding on whether to cease fire.
Clayton, G.; H.M. Nygård; H. Strand; S.A. Rustad; C. Wiehler; T. Sagård; P. Landsverk; R. Ryland; V. Sticher; E. Wink; C. Bara (2022) Introducing the ETH/PRIO Civil Conflict Ceasefire Dataset, Journal of Conflict Resolution, online first. Doi:10.1177/00220027221129183.
Introduction to the first global dataset on ceasefires in civil wars, 1989-2020. In total, the data include more than 2000 ceasefires across 66 countries and 109 conflicts, ranging from verbal arrangements to detailed written agreements. The data provide an empirical basis to assess the conditions that give rise to ceasefires, how ceasefires affect the dynamics of violence, and the role of a ceasefire in the peace process.
Bara, Corinne and Joakim Kreutz (2022) To Buy a War but Sell the Peace? Mercenaries and Post-Civil War Stability, Security Studies 31(3): 417-445.
What are the long-term consequences of the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) and mercenaries in civil wars? In this article, we show that when PMSCs have taken part in combat, the risk that civil war resumes is greater. Though the actual PMSC forces may withdraw as their contract ends, the legacy of their use will accentuate uncertainty in the postwar society.
Bara, Corinne; Annekatrin Deglow & Sebastian van Baalen (2021) Civil War Recurrence and Postwar Violence: Toward an Integrated Research Agenda, European Journal of International Relations 27(3): 913-935.
In this paper we use citation network analysis to show that research on war recurrence and postwar violence happens in distinct scholarly communities. We advocate for a more integrated study of different forms of violence after war, and present an analytical framework to give a boost to such research… and some research ideas! The framework also works for violence during war, where different forms of political violence are also mostly studied in isolation rather their interrelationships.
Bara, Corinne; Govinda Clayton & Siri Aas Rustad (2021) Understanding Ceasefires, International Peacekeeping 28(3): 329-340.
This is the introduction to our Special Issue on ceasefire agreements, featuring insights by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers on how we can better understand and design ceasefires.
Bara, Corinne & Lisa Hultman (2020) Just Different Hats? Comparing UN and Non-UN Peacekeeping, International Peacekeeping 27(3): 341-368.
Regional peacekeeping operations are equally effective as the UN in mitigating violence against civilians by governments, but not by rebels/militias. New data, and Open Access!
Bara, Corinne (2020) Shifting targets: the effect of peacekeeping on postwar violence, European Journal of International Relations 26(4): 979-1003.
UN Police are essential in mitigating various forms of violence in the aftermath of war, while UN troops struggle to contain violence by armed actors other than the former combatants. Open Access!
Bara, Corinne (2018) Legacies of Violence: Conflict-specific Capital and the Post-conflict Diffusion of Civil War, Journal of Conflict Resolution 62(9)
This article won the 2019 NEPS MEDAL for the best publication in Peace Science.
Bara, Corinne (2014) Incentives and Opportunities: A Complexity-oriented Explanation of Violent Ethnic Conflict, Journal of Peace Research 51(6)
This article won the 2014 Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award. Read the Jury Announcement.
Bara, Corinne (2022) Non-UN Peacekeeping, in: Dorussen, Han: Handbook on Peacekeeping and International Relations. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 102-117.
In this book chapter I review what we know about peacekeeping by regional organizations and coalitions of states. I discuss why it can be harder to distinguish between peacekeeping and one-sided military intervention if a mission does not operate under the UN flag. I ask what factors influence the deployment of non-UN missions, and what impact such missions have on peace and stability, especially when compared to UN missions. I also assess whether some of the most prominent findings on the impact of UN peacekeepers can be extended to non-UN missions.
Bara, Corinne (2020) Forecasting Civil War and Political Violence, in: A. Wenger, U. Jasper & M. Dunn Cavelty: The Politics and Science of Prevision: Governing and Probing the Future. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 177-193.
In this book chapter I offer an accessible overview of efforts to predict civil wars and other forms of political violence, with critical reflections on the policy impact and ethical implications of forecasting. Open Access!
Bara, Corinne (2016) The Onset and Diffusion of Civil War: Complexity and Temporal Dynamics (2016). Doctoral Thesis, ETH Zürich.
The dissertation contributes to comparative civil war research by theorizing and modeling aspects of complexity and temporal dynamics so far neglected in research on conflict onset and spread.