Low Expectations? Stabilization and stability operations as the ‘new normal’ in international interventions

We are pleased to present the workshop “Low Expectations? Stabilization and stability operations as the ‘new normal’ in international interventions”. This terrific workshop will take place at the University of Trento, in February (2nd-3rd, Department of Sociology and Social Research).

Here you’ll find all the details.

Here below additional info on the event and the programme.

The notion of “stability” and the practice of “stability operations” experienced a resurgence in the last decade. The United Nations, with operations in Haiti, in the Central African Republic, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mali has re-framed the lexicon and practice of its interventions in this direction. NATO has been similarly focusing on “projecting stability” as one of the cornerstones to guarantee the Alliance’s security.
The reasons for such re-framing are diverse. The lengthy, costly and casualty-heavy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq inevitably led to intervention fatigue. In the last decade or so, either interventions in conflict-ridden countries did not take place (as in Syria) or were based on minimal footprint (as in Libya), at least compared to the previous large-scale operations with ambitious social, economic and political engineering goals. In this evolving context, the conceptual and operational parameters of these stabilization interventions are still opaque.
This workshop aims at dissecting how these “new” practices emerged and are unfolding, how they have been analysed in the academic literature, what are their sub-components (e.g. what role civil-military relations or intelligence play in these operations), and how they are linked to the broader security and development discourse.


Day 1, Friday, February 2nd

13:00 pm Light Lunch
2:00 pm Roberto Belloni (University of Trento) & Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna)
Introduction to the Workshop
2:15 pm Stefano Costalli (University of Florence) & Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna)
Promoting democracy or averting war? Regime transitions, international interventions, and political instability
3:15 pm Jana Krause (University of Amsterdam)
Communal violence in the shadow of civil war: Implications for Stabilization and Protection
4:15 pm Coffee break
4:30 pm Marina Henke (Northwestern University, USA)
Why do UN peacekeepers die?
5:30 pm John Karlsrud (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo)
Getting the Right Tool for the Wrong Reasons? Examining United Nations Stability Operations
6:30 pm End of Day 1
8:00 pm Social dinner

Day 2, Saturday, February 3rd

9:00 am Mats Berdal (King’s College, London)
NATO’s Attempt at Stabilisation in Afghanistan, 2003-2014: Issues and Lessons
10:00 am Luca Raineri (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa) & Francesco Strazzari (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa & Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo)
Hybrid orders and stabilisation efforts in the Sahelo-Saharan space
11:00 am Coffee break
11:15 am Roberto Belloni (Trento) & Irene Costantini (“L’Orientale” University of Napoli)
Iraq 2003-2017: changing approaches to stability
12:15 pm Discussion on future prospects
1:00 pm Light lunch
2:00 pm Tavola Rotonda – Roundtable (in Italian):
Lo studio della pace e della guerra in Italia e nell’Unione Europea – The study of peace and war in Italy and in the European Union


  • Valentina Bartolucci (Agency for Peacebuilding, Bologna)
  • Roberto Belloni (University of Trento)
  • Vincenzo Bove (University of Warwick)
  • Stefano Costalli (University of Florence)
  • Irene Costantini (”L’Orientale” University of Napoli)
  • Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genova)
  • Sara De Simone (University of Trento)
  • Bernardo Monzani (Agency for Peacebuilding, Bologna)
  • Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna)
  • Francesco Strazzari (SSSUP, Pisa & Oslo)


  • Roberto Belloni, University of Trento
  • Francesco N. Moro, University of Bologna


See you in Trento.

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“Beyond Parliamentarism. A research agenda on conflicts, political institutions and regime stability in new democracies”

The ECPR General Conference is coming.The 2016 Conference will be held at Charles University, Prague, in the Czech Republic (7-10 September).

Here you’ll find the academic programme, and here the timetable.

As reported by the official website: The academic programme takes the traditional format of Sections and Panels, with over 60 Sections normally being organised, each focussing on a particular sub-field of the discipline. Each Section then contains between three and eight Panels, each addressing a specific question within the overall topic. The ECPR General Conference attracts a truly international audience crossing all sub-disciplines of political science and indeed all career stages; presenting a Paper therefore provides the opportunity to benefit from invaluable discussion and debate. Alternatively, participants can simply observe and still take advantage of the full conference experience.

Among several interesting panels we recommend the paper written by (our) Fabrizio Coticchia with Giampiero Cama, titled: “Beyond Parliamentarism. A research agenda on conflicts, political institutions and regime stability in new democracies”.

Here below the abstract:

The crisis of liberal peace, which achieved pre-eminence in the post-bipolar era, has recently emerged as a result of a growing array of problems and failures. The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have illustrated the setbacks of international liberal peacebuilding. Other approaches, such as “hybrid peace” or “resilience”, have radically questioned the main top-down assumptions of Western humanitarian interventions. At the same time, comparative politics literature has devoted a considerable attention to the understanding of state institutions and rule of law in processes of democratization. However, most research surprisingly lacks systematic analyses capable of identifying the explaining variables of success or failure in regime stability in non-homogenous societies. Combining conflict studies, institutional design perspectives, conflict management and peacebuilding approaches, this paper aims at filling this gap, providing a comprehensive theoretical framework on conflicts and institutions. Moving beyond the increasing “compartmentalisation” of the literature, our goal is to design a map that can contribute to highlight and overcome the obstacles and pitfalls of modelling, portrayed as a “minefield” where mistakes and problems easily emerge. The paper focuses on the dynamic and flexible interactions between actors, institutions and exogenous factors in non-homogenous post-conflicts societies. More specifically, we devote attention to the overlooked role played by the parliament as a crucial arena for better analysing power-sharing mechanisms and state-building.

Here the link to the panel

See you in Prague.

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