Prologue

Welcome to my blog “Outside Civil Wars”!

In times, in which civil wars seem to be so complicated, intractable and exceedingly rich in detail to comprehend, passive spectators often feel overwhelmed and daunted to form their own opinion or resort to simple answers to complex questions. Although every conflict is unique in the sum of all its features, and thus makes it harder to draw conclusions from analogies and knowledge from history, does it mean we have to start every particular conflict analysis from scratch?

This blog, Outside Civil Wars, is dedicated to answer the question straightforwardly: No

Political science in general has enabled us to analyse and comprehend political conflicts from various angles. Theories of civil war have emerged, faded, evolved, improved, stalled, and transformed in the past decades. Far from being an exhausted research field, new questions appear with every new discovery or falsification. Empirical research in combination with thoughtful thinking about appropriate theories will allow us to identify recurring patterns and mechanisms within civil wars which can be harnessed to address instances of political violence from the very outset.

In order to contribute to the broadening scope of knowledge, the blog is divided into two segments. On the one hand, results from my own research conducted within the framework of the Charles University in Prague will be presented. The main focus of my research pertains to transnational factors as well as natural resources and their influence on the probability of civil war outbreak, duration and trajectory. On the other hand, in the blog itself comments and analyses to hot-button issues are provided. In this way, the interested reader can choose at which level she or he enters the arena of debate.

You as a reader also have the chance to contribute to the ongoing debate. I would like to encourage you to send me suggestions about topics which you would like to see covered and which are thematically close to the purposes of this blog. If there will be a chance for me to delve deeper into your question, then I will be happy to answer it in a further blog post. If you are a researcher and you would also like to share your thoughts and results from your own research, please also contact me so that we can jointly evaluate if your post fits the thematic scope of the blog. Furthermore, I encourage to disagree with my approach and I would be happy if you formulate own guest contributions which will be posted here. Academia profits from a lively debate and creative thoughts should not be lost in the deep underground of university archives.