• Projekt

    A Critical Analysis of Post-Conflict Responsibility Practices

    Research Questions:
    1. What are the roles of various actors within post-conflict reconstruction? How are those roles determined?

    2. How is responsibility claimed or ascribed to specific actors and what are the justifications for this?

    Concepts/Theories: Post-conflict responsibility, transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction, mechanisms of justice, international relations, human rights

    Methods: interviews, qualitative comparative analysis, comparative case-study analysis

    When mass atrocities occur, there are a series of events which take place in order to end the violence and seek justice for those affected by the conflict. Questions of responsibility come to the forefront when action is being taken to pursue peace and justice. Many scholars investigate the role of international organizations, states, and individuals as holding responsibility for remedying the issues present in post-conflict realities. It is essential to analyze the roles of international organizations in post-conflict reconstruction, specifically, those of the United Nations (UN) and the organizations which are run by it. Depending on interpretation, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission can be seen as having substantial contributions in the countries where they have intervened (Jenkins, 2008). Scholars also are bringing up questions of the capacity of the UN to perform its duties in countries affected by conflict, highlighting the responsibility to guide societies towards political stability, economic recovery, and reconciliation post-conflict (Pritchard, 2001). Current literature focuses on humanitarian intervention after war and analyzes responsibility from that framework rather than focusing on responsibility after the conflict ends. This project seeks to address the gap by investigating post-conflict responsibility which is often left out of the literature.

    The power dynamics behind the decisions of post-conflict justice processes are in need of investigation as not only is humanitarian intervention important, but so are the events which occur after the conflict is over such as rebuilding society and the maintenance of peace-time. An examination and the understanding of the allocation of responsibility post-conflict is essential in order to begin the work of rebuilding a society. The concept of responsibility within the post-conflict justice system is complex and complicated by the three mechanisms. Christian Barry explains that the failure to bring about the changes seems to be due to the fact that few feel responsible for working towards those changes (Barry, 2003, p.218). With questions of the possibility of peace after conflict and the best way to seek justice for all victims coming to the forefront within the fields of political science, and transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction, is essential to analyze, critique and understand post-conflict responsibility and the roles which various actors play within the process of post- conflict reconstruction. The project will attempt to answer the questions of who is responsible for post-conflict reconstruction and how that is determined in a post-conflict setting.

    The research design will comprise of case-study analysis and ethnographic, observational and interview-based data. The purpose of conducting a comparative case studies is to understand how responsibility is allocated in different instances in order to demonstrate variety and therefore lead to some conclusions in relation to post-conflict responsibility. The cases will be selected on the basis of which mechanism of justice was employed in order to demonstrate the ways in which responsibility and obligation manifests across various examples. I have chosen the cases of Canada, Sierra Leone, and the Former Yugoslavia/Bosnia and Herzegovina. These cases each employed various mechanisms of justice and have unique features. Understanding the conditions and differences between the cases will provide the proposed dissertation insights on the factors involved in the allocation of post-conflict responsibility. I will employ a qualitative comparative analysis within the case-based approach in order to identify patterns within each case and then employ a cross-case comparison in order to understand the similarities and differences between each case and identify the factors which impact those variables.
    I intend to conduct interviews with individuals from organizations relevant to each of the case studies, both locally and internationally based. The purpose of these interviews will be to provide clarity and examples to support the claims of the research as well as to provide a more in- depth look into the roles of organizations within the post-conflict process. The structure of interviews will follow the directed content analysis model and therefore have open-ended questions followed by targeted questions (Hseieh and Shannon, 2005, p.1281). I intend to use focus groups as a tool within the interview process in order to address the potential problem of interviewees being too differential to draw conclusions (Stanley, 2016, p 237). Focus groups can provide insight on how the various factors, including political ideologies and socioeconomic status, impact the concept of post-conflict responsibility as the responses of participants will inform questions of how responsibility is defined and understood within each case. Focus groups can provide insight on collective views and the meaning and reasons behind them.


    Barry, C. (2003). Global Justice: Aims, Arrangements, and Responsibilities. In Can Institutions Have Responsibilities? (pp. 218–237). Palgrave Macmillan UK. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403938466_13

    Hsieh, H., & Shannon, S. (2005). Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277–1288. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732305276687

    Jenkins, R. (2008). Organizational change and institutional survival: the case of the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission. (Symposium: When the Fighting Stops: Roles and Responsibilities in Post-Conflict Reconstruction). Seton Hall Law Review, 38(4).

    Pritchard, S. (2001). United Nations involvement in post-conflict reconstruction efforts: new and continuing challenges in the case of East Timor. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 24(1), 183–190.

    Stanley, L., Stanley, L., & Jackson, R. (2016). Using focus groups in political science and international relations. Politics, 36(3), 236–249. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263395715624120

  • Werdegang

    05/2020 Aufnahme in die Graduate School of Politics (GraSP), Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.
    2019 Prüfungsleiterin am Department of Economics, University of Western Ontario, Kanada
    2018 - 2019 Lehrassistentin für Women’s Studies and Feminist Research - Introduction to Women´s Studien, University of Western Ontario, Kanada
    2018 - 2019 Masterstudium Women’s Studies and Feminist Research in Collaboration with Transnational Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, University of Western Ontario, Kanada
    2014 - 2018 Bachelorstudium Honors Specialization in Woman´s Studies and Feminist Research, Nebenfach: Transnational Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, University of Western Ontario, Kanada

  • Publikationen

    Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl)

    • Cullen, Laura C. (2020). Female Combatants and the Post-Conflict Process in Sierra Leone. Journal of International Women's Studies, 21(2), 114-125. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol21/iss2/10

    Konferenzbeiträge (Auswahl)

    • April 2019:  World Women’s Studies Conference – Female Combatants and the Post-Conflict Process in Sierra Leone.
    • 2017:  Flaunting It! Women’s Studies Undergraduate Conference - Tomb of the “Forgotten” Soldier: Selective Grief and Remembering at the Canadian National War Memorial.
  • Weiteres


    • Post-Conflict Responsibility
    • Transnationale Gerechtigkeit und Wiederaufbau nach Konflikten
    • Internationale Beziehungen und Gerechtigkeit
    • Menschenrechte

    Auszeichnungen und Stipendien