10. Transnational civilian intervention in conflict areas: from global civil society to jihadism

Chair: Luisa Chiodi (Director - Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso) 
Discussants: TBD

Date: Friday 26th June 2015
Room: Room 1- Library


Since the end of the cold war, transnational mobilization has been increasingly witnessed in conflict areas. During the Yugoslav dissolution as well as in the current war in Syria, a significant number of civilians from all over Europe have decided to intervene by crossing national borders to support relief operation or to take part in military operations.

Although well documented already during the civil war in Spain, the participation of foreign citizens in conflict areas acquired new intensity since the end of the 20th century, and has been analysed in connection with the idea that a new type of war emerged ever since (Kaldor 1999). The increase of this spontaneous, un-institutionalized engagement has indeed provoked growing scholarly production in the field of global civil society studies and contentious politics since the ‘90s.

The phenomena deserves attention as it involves large number of people and have strong influence on the wider public opinion back home where it reinforces the perception of living in a globalized world and have an impact over minority or migrant communities (Hill 2013).

Few still are the empirical research covering these transnational social phenomena that overcome widespread essentialist representation of humanitarian as well as fighters groups and that contribute to analyse their role in the international arena and/or their impact at domestic level. These movements can be studied in term of sociological profile of the participants, dynamics of organization and mobilization as well as for the political culture they express or the impact they can have in conflict zones or reverberation in the countries of origins etc.

Therefore we invite papers discussing cases of transnational movements from different disciplines addressing among others the following issues: 1) the influence of different political cultures leading civilian actors to intervene across borders during conflicts; 2) the patterns of mobilization, identification, recruiting characterizing transnational mobilization in conflict areas; 3) the impact of such transnational mobilization on the public sphere and on the framing of the conflicts in Europe; 4) shifts in public debate between positive and negative understandings of the role of transnational civilian actors.



Alienation, terrorist violence and the search for peace: new insights
Valentina Bartolucci (University of Pisa)

Elicitive peacebuilding and third party nonviolent intervention: the case of Nonviolent Peaceforce
Giovanni Scotto (University of Florence)