Order and change: Understanding violence in social orders

What is the impact of violence (e. g. wars, mass atrocities) on societies and, vice versa, how does social change reconfigure patterns of organized violence? In the cluster on “Order and change”, we investigate the role that organized violence plays with regard to societal dynamics that constitute different kinds of social order. Violence has the potential to disturb, undo and transform social order as much as it may help to create and reproduce it. Violence-induced change is understood to be an ongoing process resulting from and motivating a reordering of societal relations at different social scales (regional, local, national, international/ global). Research at BICC emphasizes the complex ways in which social order and violence relate to each other in both practical and theoretical terms. The academic objective of BICC’s research in this cluster is threefold: To understand the nexus between order and violence, to reflect on the ordering potential of violence and its impact on societal change and vice versa, and to scrutinize normative ordering ideas in politics, among policymakers and academia.

In practical terms, BICC’s research and advice in this cluster is positioned at the nexus between security, development, humanitarian aid and governance. BICC’s current focus on forced migration is exemplary in this regard. In a number of interrelated projects we investigate how conflict-induced mass displacement has an impact on societal relations in the home countries as well in the host countries and which changes forced migration triggers in respect to (re-)integration policy, humanitarian governance and for peacebuilding processes. Along the same line, we have an interest in how security arrangements (such as securityscapes) are changing under conditions of volatile violence. Given that dynamics of social order also bear a transformative potential for organized violence, we reflect on base conversion as an outcome of a changing perception of military needs. The research activities in this field links BICC’s work to urban planning and mental history (spaces of remembrance). The re-ordering of resource distribution practices, such as reforms in energy and natural resource strategies, constitutes another focus area of our work. The question of how natural resources can be governed sustainably and without fuelling violence is particularly crucial. In this field, BICC’s research is linked to thematic areas such as development policy, sustainability, resilience and political economy.



Closed projects