© Viktorija Ratković

Knowledge Production in Times of Flight and War – Developing Common Grounds for Research in/on Syria

The war in Syria has resulted in the largest population exodus in recent global history. With more than 4.8 million officially registered refugees having fled the country and more than 6.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) especially Syria’s neighbouring countries have hosted them for the past years. At the same time, and while war in Syria continues, controversial reconstruction efforts have already started in the country.

To achieve a more adequate understanding of research in conflict and war zones, we have identified three main problems:

  • Existing field research approaches and methodologies are inadequate for conflict and war zones.
  • Transdisciplinary research has not yet been sufficiently established for conflict and war zones.
  • The power nexus between war, flight, humanitarian programs, repatriation, and reconstruction has not yet been systematically worked out in research on the war in Syria and its repercussions in Lebanon.

By carrying out dissemination, capacity development and research activities in Lebanon, we will reach the following outputs:

  • Clear understanding of transformative field research approaches and methodologies for conflict and war zones has been established, practically applied and evaluated.
  • An international team of transdisciplinary knowledge producers has been established as core group of the network TransKnow.
  • Critical knowledge on the power nexus of war, flight, humanitarian programs, repatriation, and reconstruction from gender and class sensitive perspectives has been worked out, disseminated and widely discussed.

These outputs will be utilized to further develop the network TransKnow. It will guarantee the project’s sustainability and will serve as the institutional center of transdisciplinary and transformative research. By doing that, target groups (social initiatives, activists, CSOs, CBOs, NGOs, universities, researchers, students) will capitalize on the research perspectives, approaches, and methods developed by the project. These actors can thus readapt their own expertise and policies respectively, and strengthen or reorient their (academic) activities.

KnowWar is funded by the Austrian Development Agency. The research project is a cooperation between the Department of Development Studies (DDS), University of Vienna, the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Birzeit University (BZU), the NGO Mousawat, the Center for Peace Research and Peace Education (ZFF), Alps-Adriatic University Klagenfurt and the Syrian Center for Policy Research. (see Partners).