Knowledge for peace. Understanding research, policy and practice synergies

The aim of the project is to develop recommendations on how to enhance research-policy-practice synergies that are relevant to peace building and sustainable development.

About the project

  • Background

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    The starting point of our research project is the hypothesis that improved synergies between research policy and practice will produce better knowledge for peacebuilding. We define ‘better’ knowledge for peacebuilding as reliable, critical, policy-relevant and useful knowledge for practitioners. These synergies would consist of knowledge exchange, production and assessment through a series of interactions between actors which would not be based on hierarchies of knowledge but on a mutual desire to produce better knowledge. We add to previous knowledge on this subject by investigating that which has been under‐researched: the process of knowledge production itself. This draws on, but goes beyond, stud-ies which focus on how to translate complex realities to policy actors, on how research feeds into development practice and can be used by development practitioners, on how researchers can justify programmes or convince donors, or on a taken for granted assumption about the importance of the relationship between research, policy and practice. In order to shed empirical light on this under‐researched area our project will study research‐policy‐practice synergies in transitional justice, namely how knowledge is generated, how the boundaries of such knowledge come to be determined, which forms of knowledge are considered to be more legitimate, and how the politics of knowledge production shapes the types of policies which are considered, designed and implemented. Our findings will then allow us to develop recommendations on how to enhance research‐policy‐practice synergies beyond our focus on transitional justice, and with a relevance for peacebuilding and development more broadly.

  • Objectives

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    • An analysis of the discursive and material practices of transitional justice.
    • An exploration of how knowledge about ‘peace’ and ‘justice’ is produced, the politics of this process, and how knowledge is exchanged between different actors and between research‐policy‐practice domains of activity.
    • An analysis of what the first two processes mean for which types of policies are enacted and what types of policy options might be overlooked, marginalised and/or missing.
    • A set of recommendations for how actors can strengthen and optimise research‐policy‐practice synergies to improve research and practice.
  • Relevance

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    This project is focused on improving the policy‐making of transitional justice and thus to improve the lives of people living in contexts where peacebuilding and development work is taking place. Our project has the key meta‐objective to contribute to better knowledge at the intersection between development, peacebuilding and transitional justice. It is here that we focus our impact. Our underlying framework for seeking changes in transitional justice, peacebuilding and development is based on a thorough understanding of the politics of knowledge production. Thus our research sets out to capture discursive and material practices of knowledge production, to explore the boundaries of knowledge and how they come to be determined, to explain which forms of knowledge are considered more legitimate, and to illustrate how the politics of knowledge production shapes the types of policies which are considered, designed and implemented. We assume that a thorough understanding of the politics of knowledge production bears the potential of raising awareness among key stakeholder groups in order to foster a change in perspectives and thinking with regard to policies and practices of transitional justice. Modified perspectives and following engagements of key stakeholder groups will in turn impact on the design and implementation of policies and interventions in transitional justice which will provoke spill‐over effects to peacebuilding and development overall. Following our initial assumption about the production of knowledge based on the interaction between knowledge and policy, this will increase the effectiveness of policies and interventions.

  • Geographic scope

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    • Côte d’Ivoire
    • South Sudan
    • Mozambique
  • Project link to P3

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    • Link to project on SNSF research database P3