The practices of governing protracted crises: actors, networks, and institutions
Michal Natorski and Benedetta Voltolini, Maastricht University/UNU-MERIT and King's College London
The current context of international politics is characterised by a sustained period of profound crises. Some crises, several of which are bordering the Europe, are particularly long-running and seemingly intractable as they seem to reproduce themselves despite transient periods of conflict flair-up and peace initiatives and are typically referred to as “protracted”, “frozen”, “intractable”, “deep-rooted” or “complex”. There is a path dependency associated with such situations, in which economic interests, identity, and power structures ‘trap’ antagonists; external actors must be careful not to sustain the problem they seek to transform. Examples include the Arab-Israeli conflict, Western Sahara, Ukraine, Libya, and Lebanon, but also climate change crisis and transatlantic relations recurrent crises. Moreover, these crises have operated in the context of transversal crises such as economic-social inequalities, climate change and irregular migration.
This two-day workshop focuses on these protracted crises from perspectives investigating the micro- level of actors and network relations: officials and societal actors' informal and everyday activities in dealing with protracted crises. The aim is to gain new comparative understandings of attempts to govern by and through practices in protracted crises. To this purpose, the contributions address a set of shared questions:
• How can we best conceptualise protracted crises and understand their governance, life cycle and mechanisms of self-reproduction? What political practices and practices related to violence characterise protracted crises, particularly their sustenance and self-reproduction?
• To what extent are informal groups of local and international actors central in anchoring, routinising and ‘locking in’ certain practices that contribute to sustaining and reproducing crises? How can these relationships be conceptualised?
• What is the role of external actors concerning protracted crises? To what extent can they affect them without being co-opted in the relationships and communities of practice that may sustain them?
The workshop will include the presentation of eight work-in-progress papers leading to an academic publication.
This event - which has been generously co-funded by the University Fund Limburg/SWOL - is open to the public. There is a limited numbers of available places for UM master students and PhD researchers who are interested in the topic. Please register by sending an email before 20 February 2024 to Michal Natorski at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please find the programme here.
Venue: UNU-MERIT Belvédère, Fenikshof 1, Maastricht
Date: 22-23 February 2024