Introduction

I received my MA Political Science degree at Leiden University, the Netherlands, in 1997. Thereafter I worked for the Interdisciplinary Research Programme on Root Causes of Human Rights Violations (PIOOM), Leiden University, between 1998 and 2002. I wrote confidential reports, like one on the Kosovo conflict for the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) in Vienna, Austria. Since then, I have been a freelance consultant and independent scholar ...
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Qualities and Abilities

My qualities and abilities in comparison to other conflict analysts and security specialists It would be rather pertinent to say that my qualities are unique. I do believe, however, that my qualities of thoroughness, independence and open-mindedness are quite rare in the current world of overly hazy, hasty and fashionable conflict and security analyses in the media, without offering clear definitions, perspectives and possible solutions to decision-makers and the wider public alike. Above all ...
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The role of ethnicity in my research

Ethnicity is just one of the many concepts and phenomena that characterize or can characterise a people, both in times of peace and war. This is true not just in my own research, but also within conflict studies in general – indeed, the term ‘ethnicity’ appears in one form or another in practically all disciplines within the social and even natural sciences. As with so many other terms and concepts, ‘ethnicity’ does not or hardly mean anything if it is not explicitly and sensibly defined, and pu...
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How my Brutalisation theory can improve analysis and offer solutions

My theory on brutalisation i.e. increasing violation of local and/or international norms of violence, is a very negative, pessimistic theory on the human condition, effectively stating that any armed conflict or other type of violence tends to go from bad to worse, with little relief in sight. However, this does not mean that I fully believe in the theory or all its facets, certainly not in each and every case. In each case, I seek to falsify, that is to say to disprove or at least test the theo...
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The (im)possibilities of field research

Of course I am able to conduct such research, even though I have not been as often in the field as I would have liked given financial and time constraints. I am not a trained anthropologist in the strict sense or a field researcher in the broader sense, but I am familiar with the literature and those methods and findings most relevant to my own research. I have conducted some relatively short field trips, and conducted interviews, in the distant and more recent past (e.g. in Kosovo in 2016 and A...
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