My current research focuses on the dynamics of violence during and after armed conflict. While I wrote my dissertation about the conditions under which civil wars start and spread to neighboring countries, I now increasingly study the use of violence in these wars. 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. My work is primarily quantitative-comparative and aims 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
Bara, Corinne and Joakim Kreutz (2022) To Buy a War but Sell the Peace? Mercenaries and Post-Civil War Stability, Security Studies, online first. Doi:10.1080/09636412.2022.2097890.
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 (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.