Home » SWEDISH UNIVERSITIES ENGAGED IN SOUTH ASIA RESEARCH 2015 » University of Gothenburg 2015 » Division of Peace and Development Research, School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University

Division of Peace and Development Research, School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University

Postal address: School of Global Studies, Box 700, SE-405 30 Göteborg
Visiting address: Konstepedimins väg 2/Övre Husargatan
Web page: http://www.globalstudies.gu.se/english/

Key person: Associate Professor Camilla Orjuela, phone: +46 (0)31 786 5873. Personal web page.

The Division of Peace and Development Research was previously known under its acronym PADRIGU. It moved location in late August 2005, to Campus Linné, and its three imposing old buildings – Annedalseminariet (Övre Husargatan 34), KK 2 (Konstepedimins väg 2), and Rektorsvillan (Seminariegatan 1).
Since July 2006 it is administered as a division within the School of Global Studies at Gothenburg University (SGSGU), part of an effort to coordinate global studies across disciplinary and regional limitations.

Over the years, former PADRIGU division has run several senior and doctoral projects about India and the South Asian region. The 2nd Swedish National Conference on Peace Research was held in Gothenburg on 7–8 September 2006. The conference, organised by the School of Global Studies/PADRIGU, Gothenburg University on behalf of the Swedish Network of Peace, Conflict and Development Research, was a meeting point for Swedish researchers in the field. Several of the nine panels touched on South Asian issues. In the panel ”Post-conflict and ReconstructionDoreen Arulanandam presented a paper about ”Women in Social Reconstruction – Multifaceted Engagement in War Ravaged Northern Sri Lanka”, and in a panel on ”Peace Processes” both Camilla Orjuela, and Isak Svensson from the Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies, Uppsala University, discussed recent Srilankan experiences. Professor emeritus Björn Hettne, Dr. Stellan Vinthagen and Dr. Bent Jörgensen also participated in the conference.
A separate Centre for Global Gender Studies (CGGS) was formally established as a unit at Gothenburg University on 1 January 2004. Many of the staff at PADRIGU are also involved in the activities of CGGS. More information on the Centre for Global Gender Studies.

Current research connected to South Asia

In October 2014, Dr. Camilla Orjuela received SEK 1.7 m as a grant from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond for project on ”Seeking justice from afar: Diasporas and transitional justice”. This project will analyse how diasporas engage with, shape and respond to transitional justices processes in Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
Abstract: Although the ways in which migrants influence homeland conflicts have been relatively well investigated, the increasingly important role of diasporas in transitional justice has so far not been systematically studied, nor has the importance of transitional justice initiatives in shaping diaspora organization and identity. The project focuses on two cases – Rwanda and Sri Lanka – where the pursuit of justice after the genocide and the civil war respectively involve conflicting interests and the mobilization and involvement of diaspora groups. The project will conduct interviews with victims, perpetrators and activists in the diasporas of these two countries, in addition to making observations and analysing media coverage and academic literature. Its main contributions will be to advance the theoretical discussion of transitional justice and globalization by discussing the implications of the deterritorialization that takes place when transitional justice is pursued by diaspora groups. The project will also provide insights into how transitional justice becomes intertwined with diasporic processes of memory, history making and identity formation across generations.

On 4 November 2014, Camilla Orjuela was also granted a development research grant from the Swedish Research Council (total amount SEK 3.0 m in three years, 2015-17) for a Asia related project entitled ”Political Transition and Religious Radicalization in Burma and Sri Lanka”, a project to be carried out in collaboration with Dr. Dhammika Herath, and Dr. Carolina Holgersson Ivarsson (for the Sri Lanka based research); and Dr. Gustaaf Houtman (for the Burma/Myanmar based research).
Project abstract: This project focuses on inter-religious tensions in post-military rule Burma and post-war Sri Lanka and on how conflict patterns are affected by discourses that portray Islam as an expansionist force threatening Buddhism. In Burma, anti-Muslim mobilization has escalated in recent years. Anti-Muslim attacks have caused large flows of refugees and Buddhist monks have led violent riots in defense of Buddhism directed against the country´s Muslim minority. In Sri Lanka, following the end of 26 years of war in 2009, the nascent post-war period has witnessed an upsurge of Buddhist radicalization and violence against religious sites and members of minority religious communities. The tensions between Buddhist majorities and Muslim minorities pose a challenge to peace and security within these countries and in the region. This project thus seeks to generate a deeper understanding of the religious radicalisation that is taking place in the context of political transitions in Burma and Sri Lanka and the implications this has for conflict escalation that can risk hampering the budding economic development, human security and democratic advancements in the these countries.
More information about Swedish Research Council grants to South Asia related projects 2014.

Camilla defended her doctoral dissertation on ”Civil Society in Civil War: Peace Work and Identity Politics in Sri Lanka” on Friday 3 December 2004. Faculty oppoment was Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe, Chairman of the Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE), based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Read the abstract.

Abstract: It is increasingly recognised that civil society has an important role to play in conflict resolution and peace building, by involving and educating grass roots and thus granting legitimacy to top-level peace processes. A growing interest in development assistance to support ‘peace’ (as a prerequisite for ‘development’) has paved the way for an influx of funds to ‘civil society’, chiefly to NGOs doing peace education and campaigning. This paper looks at the case of Sri Lanka, where an ongoing peace process has made donor support for civil society peace work a burning issue. Defining and building up a civil society is not an easy exercise, as a look at the question “What is civil society in Sri Lanka (is it really ‘civil’)?” will reveal. Ethnic divisions within civil society, the obstacles to its functioning (especially in the war zones), and the criticism directed towards foreign funded ‘peace mongers’ are discussed, as are the potential positive effects of civil society work to back peace processes.

Camilla Orjela also works as a journalist with focus on peace- and development issues. She has been the editor of Utblick, published by IOGT-NTO’s International Institute. She was a member of SASNET’s board between 2004 and 2009. More information about Dr. Orjuela’s research at her personal web page.

Publications by Dr. Camilla Orjuela:
Book: The Identity Politics of Peacebuilding: Civil Society in War-torn Sri Lanka. Sage Publications, 2008. Abstract: This book looks at civil society and peace movements in the context of the identity-based armed conflict in Sri Lanka. Focussing on the identity politics inherent in peace work, it demonstrates why civil society groups engaged in peace activities often fail to enhance the sense of security among civilians and are also unable to challenge the underlying structures of war. The book highlights the role peace organisations play in providing alternatives to dominant discourses of militarism. It draws on unique empirical material, including 150 interviews with leaders, participants and key actors involved in civil society peace work in Sri Lanka.

By critically examining the roles played by civil society actors for peace, The Identity Politics of Peacebuilding: Civil Society in War-torn Sri Lanka contributes to filling the gap between the international enthusiasm for supporting civil society peace work on the one hand, and the lack of a thorough understanding of the relevance and impact of this work on the other. The author uses a constructivist approach to point out the dangers of romanticising inter-ethnic understanding in peace work and ignoring identity politics within peace movements.
Power and politics in the shadow of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict. Report edited by Camilla Orjuela, with chapters written by Dr. Sunil Bastian, Dr. Sepali Kottegoda and Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda. It discusses the development in the country after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, that brought Sri Lanka’s 26 year long civil war to an end. It also led to a dramatic change in power relations in the island, where politics and everyday life had for decades been dominated by the conflict between the government forces and the Tamil rebels. Throughout Sri Lanka’s modern history, the nationalist projects of the two main conflict parties have dominated the struggles for – and the analysis of – power. This publication highlights other important aspects of power, while also relating them to the armed conflict. The report is published by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), as Sida Studies No. 25. Link to the full-text report.

Articles in academic journals: 
Distant Warriors, Distant Peace Workers? Multiple Diaspora Roles in Sri Lanka’s Violent Conflict’ in Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 4, October 2008.
Reaping the harvest of peace? Politics of reconstruction during Sri Lanka’s 2002 peace process’. Critical Asian Studies, 40 (2), June 2008.

• Dr. Stellan Vinthagen (photo to the right) defended his doctoral dissertation on ”Nonviolent Action – A Social Practice of Resistance and Construction”, on Saturday 8 October 2005. The thesis explores how peace with peaceful means is possible to conceptualize. Earlier theories about nonviolence (mainly Mahatma Gandhi and Sharp) are discussed in the perspective of late modern sociology in an attempt to develop a social and practical description system. Faculty opponent was Associate Professor Jan Öberg, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, Lund. Read the abstract.

In August 2014, Stellan Vinthagen was named Inaugural endowed chair Professor in The Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. A $2.8 million endowment from a family committed to the cause of social justice will fund Vinthagen’s position and related activities and support scientific research that can provide guidance to people across the globe who seek to improve their societies through nonviolence. The family wishes to remain anonymous. As part of his outreach, Vinthagen aspires for UMass Amherst to publish a comprehensive annual report on direct, nonviolent actions similar to reports describing trends of violent conflicts and wars. “The key is to develop practical and critical knowledge and guidelines that will facilitate more effective struggles against injustices and domination, in the U.S. and around in the world,” Vinthagen said. In this new position, Vinthagen will also become an integral member of the university’s Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, and he will lead the program’s expansion to address issues of nonviolent action and civil resistance. The program trains scientific researchers who are committed to preventing and reducing violence and conflict, and who seek to bridge the gap between academic research and its application. Program students and faculty partner with non-governmental organizations locally and internationally, and translate their work for policymakers and practitioners to facilitate conflict resolution, reconciliation and peace building. Read more…

In December 2010, the Swedish Research Council awarded Stellan Vinthagen SEK 10 m for a research programme entitled ”Globalization of Resistance: Influences on Democracy Advocators in Civil Society in the South”. The project is running during a period of 6 years, 2011-2015, and is being coordinated by Stellan Vinthagen, and carried out in collaboration with Associate Professor Mikael Baaz, Dr. Mona Lilja, and Associate Professor Michael Schulz. The project is based at the School of Global Studies, but developed in collaboration with University West. It consists of studies in Cambodia, India and Palestine. Stellan Vinthagen is in charge of the India related studies.
Abstract: The idea is to continue to develop and build a profound research environment at the School of Global studies (SGS), University of Gothenburg, in which researchers dealing with civil society and resistance are brought together. The specific aim is to understand how various civil societies and their resistance transform under the impact of an increasing globalization, and what that means for democratization. In this, a historical and comparative framework will be used to analyze the civil societies in three selected countries (Cambodia, India, and Palestine). The main research questions of the program are: (1) How does globalization create new obstacles and new options for the resistance of the civil societies of Cambodia, India, and Palestine? (2) What new articulations (forms, sites, strategies, technologies and agents) of resistance are fostered as the civil societies of Cambodia, India, and Palestine is exposed to processes of globalization?       (3) What factors can explain the obstacles/options and articulations of resistance for democracy driven civil society organizations in Cambodia, India, and Palestine? During the field research in the selected countries interviews with various stakeholders will be carried out and policy documents, strategic plans and other published material from civil society organizations will be collected and analyzed in order to identify the objectives, strategies, and implementation plans of the civil society organizations.

Privately, Stellan Vinthagen has been a peace worker, since 1980 engaged in various social movements. For six years he was the editor of a peace movement journal (Plogbillen), and he was main organiser of a number of international movement conferences in Germany and Sweden during the years 1987-1999. In 1986 he was Swedish co-organiser of The World Peace Conference, that was being held in Copenhagen. After his dissertation in 2005 he worked as a senior lecturer at PADRIGU, but was also affiliated as an associate lecturer at Globalverkstan– International Project Management for Social Movements & NGOs in Gothenburg. Besides he has been connected to the College for International Citizenship (CIC) in Birmingham, England. He is also a member of TRANSCEND, a global network of scholars-practitioners working for peace and development; of IPRA, the International Peace Research Association; the War Resisters International, WRI; and an Associate of the Transnational Foundation (TFF), the research foundation based in Lund, Sweden.

Stellan Vinthagen has been the Swedish Project Coordinator of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at University of Madras, Chennai, India. The centre has evolved out of the Swedish-Indian Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies programme (PCTS) that Dr. Vinthagen was instrumental in setting up at the University of Madras. In 2004, he received a SASNET planning grant for this educational project – more information below.
More information about Dr. Vinthagen’s research at his personal web page.

Dr. Dhammika Herath was one out of six PhD candidates from Sri Lanka who were accepted in 2003 to join a four years doctoral programme at PADRIGU, on a sandwich basis with the universities of Peradeniya, Kandy, and Jaffna, and partly financed by the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida/SAREC. The programme started in September 2003, and consisted of three parts; first 10 months fully funded initial stay in Gothenburg, then two years fieldwork in Sri Lanka, and finally a period back in Sweden up till the dissertation. completed a PhD project on the impact of social capital on human development in a war-torn setting in Sri Lanka.

On Wednesday 30 May 2008, he defended his doctoral dissertation titled ”Rural Development through Social Capital? An inquest into the linkages between social capital and development in war-torn villages in Sri Lanka”. Faculty opponent was Dr Jonathan Goodhand, Dept. of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK.

Abstract: This study concerns the potential causal relationship between social capital and rural development in war-torn villages in the north of Sri Lanka. The social capital thesis centers on the notion that social relationships matter to development-related outcomes and reconstruction of war-torn societies. This theoretical understanding and the conditions in the north of Sri Lanka motivated the author to apply the concept of social capital to study development in war-torn villages.
In an attempt to understand the causal factors of development, this study builds a research model that takes account of social capital as well as other relevant explanatory factors. Ethnographic information gathered in the study area leads the study to form two hypotheses: bonding social capital causes development; and bridging social capital causes development. The study attempts to determine whether there is a casual relationship, and if such a relationship exists, the nature of it. This study finds that development is a complex phenomenon: social capital cannot entirely account for development, while other explanatory factors, such as natural assets and infrastructure issues, also strongly influence the prospects of development.
The study was conduced in six rural war-torn villages in the north of Sri Lanka in 2005. It involved two phases, spanning a time period of almost one year. The study commenced with a qualitative phase, which included initial observations, collection of official records and brief interviews with key figures in the area. It then conducted close observations, case studies and interviews in the study villages. In the second phase, the study administered a survey to all (416) households in the study villages. The data was analyzed using two computer-based data analysis programs: SPSS and LISREL.

Along with Dr. Michael Schultz (see above), Dr. Herath participated in the SASNET workshop on ”The role of South Asia in the internationalisation of higher education in Sweden held in Stockholm 28-29 November 2006, where they presented the PhD sandwich system being used at the School of Global Studies, in the workshop session about ”South Asian students in soft sciences in Sweden”. Read the presentation at the workshop.

In 2009 Dr. Herath moved back to Sri Lanka, and worked as a research fellow at the International Center for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Colombo. He was involved in organizing the SASNET-funded Sri Lanka Conference on Peace and Development, that was held in Kandy on 23–25 August 2009. More information above.

As of October 2012 Dr. Herath is back at the PADRIGU, School of Global Studies, where he is conducting research on “Corruption and Conflict: Relations and everyday experience” and “Dysfunctional democracies: The case of Sri Lanka”.
In January 2013 The International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka (ICES) announced the relase of a publication entitled “Healing the Wounds – Rebuilding Sri Lanka after the War“, edited by Dr Herath together with Kalinga Tudor Silva, Professor of Sociology at the University of Peradeniya. More information about the book. At the University of Peradeniya Dr. Herath is also editor-in-chief of the Sri Lanka Journal of Sociology which started in 2015.

• Mattias Larsen defended his doctoral dissertation titled ”Vulnerable Daughters in Times of Change: Emerging Contexts of Discrimination in Himachal Pradesh, India” on Friday 13 March 2009. The dissertation deals with the widespread problem in India of using sex selective abortions to discriminate against daughters. Girls are aborted on a massive scale simply because they are girls. A point of departure is the fact that the problem has become prevalent at a time of considerable social and economic change. Faculty opponent was Prof. Ravinder Kaur from the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi. More information, with a link to the full-text thesis.

Abstract: The main objective of the study was to analyse the underlying dynamics of the current trend of declining sex ratios for the age group 0-6. Karnataka in the south and Uttar Pradesh in the north have both had increases in overall sex ratio from 1991 to 2001. When looking at the sex ratios for the age group 0-6, however, one is struck by the difference. While the overall figures show small but definite increases, the 0-6 ratios have registered considerable decreases between 1991 and 2001. Like India as a whole, both Karnataka and UP show a slight improvement in overall sex ratio, but a large decline in the sex ratio for age group 0-6. However, the two states’ respective ratios differ considerably, thus reflecting the welldocumented differences with higher ratios in the South and lower in the North. The study focused on two areas in Karnataka and two areas in UP with differing trends in sex ratios. Read full project description (as a pdf-file).

Larsen has also been involved in a a similar project, called ”Lives at Risk; Discrimination of female children in modern India”, at the Dept. of Economic History at Lund University. The project, coordinated by Neelambar Hatti, was carried out in collaboration with T.V. Sekher at the Population Research Center, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, India. More information on the project.
At the 18th ECMSAS conference arranged by SASNET in July 2004 Mattias Larsen was co-authoring a working paper titled ”Lives at Risk. Declining Child Sex Ration in India” (No 93 in the series Lund Papers in Economic History), Full text version is available on the Internet. Go for it (as a pdf-file). A paper titled ”Uncertainty Vulnerable daughters” was jointly presented by Mattias Larsen, Pernille Gooch and Neelambar Hatti, at the CEPED-CICRED-INED Seminar on ”Female Deficit in Asia: Trends and Perspectives”, held in Singapore, 5–7 December 2005. Read the draft paper.

In August 2008, Mattias Larsen received a SASNET planning grant for a project entitled ”Development and Demography in North-Western India: Emerging Contexts of Daughter Discrimination”. More information about the 2008 SASNET planning grants. In November 2009, this project was awarded SEK 1.2 m as a three-years research grant (2010–12) from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. The project was now entitled ”Vulnerable Daughters in Times of Change: A New Approach to the Problem of ‘missing girls’ in India”. The project was carried out in collaboration with Professor Aswini Kumar Nanda, Director of the Population Research Centre (PRC) at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh, India; and Ravinder Kaur, Professor in Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. The project involved a comparative case study of selected districts in the three states Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in northwestern India – states where the problem with daughter discrimination is more rampant than elsewhere. A working hypothesis was that low child sex ratios and daughter discrimination are results of a larger process of social and economic change in which the conditions for the institution of intergenerational contract is changing. More information about the 2009 Sida grants.
Abstract: Much research has been done on the nature of the problem that millions of girls are ‘missing’ in India, but so far little attention has been paid to the relationship between the country’s rapid economic growth, deep social changes and the fate of girl children. We hypothesise that daughter discrimination is a result of larger processes of social and economic change in which there is increasing uncertainty regarding the fulfilment of the intergenerational contract stating that sons are responsible for the old age support of their parents. The proposed project has two main objectives; (1) to empirically test new hypotheses based on findings from our previous own research and (2) to investigate and map the extent of social consequences. The research design consists of an untried methodological approach combining a statistical analysis with a fuzzy set-QCA analysis, and conducting a survey.

In October 2011, Sida’s (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) U-landsforskningsråd decided to award Mattias Larsen with SEK 1.57 m for a three-year (2012-14) research grant for a new project entitled ”Social Dimensions of Financial Exclusion: The Effect of Social Capital on Use of Financial Services in India”. It focuses on India and is carried out in collaboration with the Population Research Centre, Centre for Research on Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) in Chandigarh, India.
Abstract: The widespread problem of ‘financial exclusion’ from formal institutions in developing countries is both a condition trapping people in poverty and a major  impediment to economic development. The researchers argue that social capital has an important and still underestimated effect on use of formal financial services. The intention is to increase our understanding by investigating the social dimensions of formal financial services use in India. The objective is to estimate the effect of social capital on FFS use, and to investigate the circumstances under which social capital is responsible for variations in FFS use, utilizing quantitative methods on nationally representative data from India. With an effect of social capital on use of formal finical services, there will be a greater potential to influence uptake and use that previously expected, for example through social marketing efforts.

Mattias Larsen lives in Vienna, Austria, since several years, even though he is affiliated to University of Gothenburg. From February 2015, he is working at the Department of Economic Sociology, University of Vienna.

Dr. Patrik Oskarsson was affiliated to the School of Global Studies at University of Gothenburg as a Lecturer in Development Studies from the Fall semester 2013 till 2014. During the Spring semester 2015, Patrik Oskarsson was away from Gothenburg, being a guest research fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK. He is now (from the fall semester 2015) working at the Department of Urban and Rural Development at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.
Patriok received his PhD from School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, on a dissertation focusing on the contestation over land use when a bauxite mineral project was proposed in the adivasi areas of northern part of Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He defended his thesis entitled ”The law of the Land Contested: Bauxite Mining in Tribal, Central India in an Age of Economic Reform” in 2010. It is available on the Internet, go for the thesis.
Patrik has also written on Special Economic Zones, irrigation projects and environmental management in collaboration with a number of different civil society groups. His research interest focuses on the political economy of industrialization and economic development in India. Of special interest are the various ways in which poor and marginalized groups in rural India are affected in terms of livelihoods, environmental quality and natural resource base by economic development projects, but also how it is possible for the poor themselves and for public interest groups to mobilize and demand the implementation of rights by making use of the existing national democratic framework and increasingly also international human rights legislation and policies for corporate social responsibility.

His Swedish university background is a MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management at Linköping University in 2000. After that he has worked as volunteer for the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in New Delhi, and Samata in Hyderabad – an NGO working on tribal welfare issues in Andhra Pradesh. During 2011-12, Patrik Oskarsson worked as a post-doc researcher at Azim Premji University in Bangalore.
In the summer 2103, an article by Patrik Oskarsson in the peer-reviewed South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 36:2(2013). The article is entitled ‘Dispossession by Confusion from Mineral-Rich Lands in Central India’.
Abstract: Bauxite mineral projects in central India have in recent years generated conflicts over both the physical environment and equitable development for very vulnerable people. In one such project, a joint venture between the state government of Andhra Pradesh and a private investor, attempts are currently being made to open up land constitutionally reserved for India’s Scheduled Tribes. The final outcome, though still uncertain, depends not only on the relative material resources of the opposing parties, but on a drawn-out process of contestation where the discursive resistance to tribal land dispossession has strong historical roots and many active supporters. Thus, for the project’s promoters, their advantage rests on their ability to create confusion via superior access to, and control over, information, rather than relying on their direct authority.

On 5 December 2013, Patrik Oskarsson was granted SEK 5.444 million as funding for a project partly focusing on India, entitled ”Coal Conflicts: Participatory resource governance for improved sustainability and conflict resolution in India and Mozambique”. The four-years grant (2013-16) comes from the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). It is one out of seven Swedish research projects addressing sustainability issues in the fields of natural resource use and governance, increased agricultural production, and environmental management in low-income countries. The projects specifically provide mobility grants for young researchers, and they are based both within the social and humanistic sciences as well as the natural sciences, and the overall intention is to contribute to development of new knowledge that will support global sustainable development, and to promote capacity building long-term cooperation between Swedish researchers and researchers in low-income countries. Three of the projects involve research collaboration with partners in India. More information.
Project abstract: This project examines the governance of coal, a resource which is increasingly using up common property land in India and Mozambique, is a source of local and national conflicts as well as being a concern in climate change debates. Specifically it looks at participatory decision-making over land and mineral resources as a possible approach to sustainable development in poverty-affected and politically unstable regions. The project studies empirically two major coal producing areas, Jharkhand state in India and Tete province in Mozambique. These regions represent rural hinterlands of intense poverty with vast deposits of coal. A reduction in violent conflict has improved the possibilities to extract these resources for the benefit of national and international power users in recent years. Control over these vital resources is connected to political influence locally and at higher levels. Can local participation in decisions improve sustainability? Ethnographic fieldwork is planned in the coal-bearing areas but also at higher levels to study decision-making and resource management of coal at regional and national levels and remote sensing images will be used to assess detailed land use changes. The four year project will be carried out at four different institutions to allow wide support in the fields of governance, conflict and natural resource management. It includes collaboration with top researchers in the coal-producing countries and internationally acclaimed experts.

• PhD candidate Bahirathy Jeeweshwara Räsänen defended her doctoral thesis titled Caste and Nation-building; Constructing Vellalah Identity in Jaffna at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, on 19 November 2015. Venue: Annedalseminariet, Seminariegatan 1A, room 326. The faculty opponent was Prof. Øivind Fuglerud, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo, Norway. SASNET deputy director Lars Eklind attended the dissertation.
The dissertation explores the meanings and practices associated with Vellalah identity in the context of the Tamil nationalist project in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Given that caste is a culturally sensitive identity and practice among Tamils, the thesis investigates how dominant caste identity was constructed, (re)negotiated and transformed. This is done via a case study on Vellalah identity by looking at the construction of Vellalah identity historically, as well as in contemporary Jaffna, with a main focus on the years 2004–2007. This study, in a sense, tries to unpack the Sri Lankan conflict with an inside account of the Vellalah Tamils who were one of the major protagonists of the ethno-national war which lasted more than three decades. The Vellalah, being the hegemonic elite and intelligentsia of the region, monopolised the social, cultural, economic and political resources. At a theoretical level, this study discusses the intersections of identity, caste and nationalism. It tries to account for how Vellalah identity is historically constituted, how major elements of caste relate to Vellalah identity, how the LTTE both influenced caste and Vellalah identity, and finally how war impacted caste and Vellalah identity. The central argument of this thesis is that while Vellalah identity evolved over time with certain stable markers of its identity and thus of caste identity, during the period of Tamil militancy such markers of caste identity were radically destabilised in the re-articulation of Tamil nationalism. Full information, with a link to the full-text thesis.
In Sri Lanka, she is Assistant Lecturer, Dept of Sociology, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

Previous South Asia related research

• Professor Emeritus Björn Hettne (photo to the left). PhD in Economic History at Gothenburg University in 1978, with a doctoral thesis titled ”The Political Economy of Indirect Rule. Mysore 1881-1947”. Since then he has had a vast production of books, articles and papers within his major research fields, that have been International Political Economy; Regionalism (South Asia, Europe); and Development and Conflict.
Hettne was chairman for the SASNET board during the period 2001-06. More information.
In his research, he has also been engaged in research on the ”Anatomy of Complex Emergencies”. At the Research Conference ”Structures of Vulnerability” held at Stockholm University 12–14 January 2005 Björn Hettne presented a paper on this subject, and he also took part in a panel debate on ”Victims and Actors – who get the blame? Concepts of structure and agency in the development research”.
At SASNET’s Symposium for PhD candidates and post-docs, held in Marstrand in October 2002, Björn Hettne lectured about ”One year after 11 September – what happened in South Asia and why?”. A similar text (but in Swedish) was published in the September 2002 issue of SYDASIEN. Read the article.
Professor Björn Hettne retired in June 2006. In his honour, Gothenburg University arranged a seminar (for invited guests only) at Jonsered Manor 14–15 June 2006. The seminar was titled ”New Scenes for International Cooperation – Björn Hettne and Internationalisation of Higher Education”. Professor S. D. Muni, Centre of South, Central & South East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, was one of the keynote speakers at the seminar.
In August 2009, Prof. Hettne came out with a new book, entitled ”Thinking about development” on Zed Books. It is a concise and accessible introduction to development thinking, contemporary development theory and practice and – a critical analysis of the values that lie behind them. Hettne argues that schools of development thinking should be historically contextualized, not presented as evolving towards a universal theory. The book presents development as an ‘essentially contested concept’, that has meant a number of things at various times to different people in different places. Focusing on historical discourses from the initial colonial encounters through to the modern day, Hettne draws the connections between the enlightenment belief in ‘progress’ through to the more recent focus on the Millennium Development Goals. More information.

In November 2004 Camilla Orjuela and the lecturer Michael Schultz (photo to the right) were given a three-years grant (2005-07) from Sida/SAREC to pursue a project on ”‘Post’ War Reconstruction and the Peace Process in Sri Lanka”. More information. Michael Schultz was at the time coordinating the department’s cooperation with Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka, and supervised two of the Srilankan PhD candidates connected to the department (see below).
Project abstract: Reconstruction of war torn societies is not merely a post-settlement task, but also influences the peace making. This project focuses on the case of Sri Lanka and studies how processes of reconstruction are linked to the politics of the peace process initiated in 2002. It analyses how reconstruction issues matter in the interaction between key actors in the peace process as issues under dispute and as a potential space for cooperation between the conflicting parties. The project also poses questions about the link between reconstruction and improvement of life at a local level, and the top level peace process. A survey and qualitative interviews carried out in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka will explore local experiences of reconstruction and views of how the top level can be influenced. Qualitative interviews with key actors in the peace process will provide insights about top level dynamics.

In November 2005 Camilla Orjuela also received a major grant from the Swedish Research Links programme for three years (2006-08), for a project called ”Long-Distance Reconciliation? Nationalism and Peace Building in the Diaspora”. More information. This project studied the role diaspora communities can play in peace building in their countries of origin. While diaspora researchers have gained insights about the processes of ”long-distance nationalism”, ”homeland politics” and identity formation taking place in the diaspora, peace researchers have still to grasp the complex role of diaspora communities in todayâs deterritorialised nationalist conflicts. So far, diasporas have been studied by peace researchers mainly as groups encouraging and funding violent conflicts. This project, however, puts the focus on the possibilities created in the diaspora existence for dialogue between people who have been made enemies in violent conflicts. In exile, new spaces for interaction and alternative identity formation emerge. Exiles also keep close contacts with relatives and friends back home, and make important contributions to efforts to reconstruct war-torn areas. This study takes its point of departure in the case of Sri Lanka. It studies how Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese living in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK involve in and make sense of the ethnic conflict back home. It looks at contacts maintained with the homeland, involvement in diaspora organisations and experiences of cross-ethnic dialogue in the diaspora.

In August 2008, Dr. Camilla Orjuela was awarded another SASNET planning grant for a research project titled ”Corruption and Conflict. Challenges for Local Governance in Sri Lanka”. More information about the 2008 SASNET planning grants.
The project was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Jonas Lindberg, Department of Human Geography, University of Gothenburg, and Professor Siri Hettige, Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The purpose of the SASNET grant is to develop the suggested project on corruption, conflict and local governance into a larger research project, where the competences of each of the three main applicant, in addition to a broader network within the University of Colombo, is taken advantage of. The grant will be spent on a workshop and planning meeting in Colombo in November 2008, as well as for a shorter pilot study carried out in collaboration in connection with the workshop.
Project abstract: The interest in networking between University of Gothenburg and University of Colombo has grown out of a realisation of our shared research interests. Orjuela and Lindberg developed a project proposal for research about the interlinkages between corruption and conflict in Sri Lanka – a project which builds on their earlier research in Sri Lanka on issues related to conflict, development and governance. Professor Siri Hettige at University of Colombo is one of the most well-regarded researchers and experts on issues related to local governance, and was a research partner.

In November 2008, this project on ”Corruption and Conflict” was also awarded SEK 750 000 as a one-year grant from Sida/SAREC’s Developing Country Research Council. More information.
As a result of the project, a well-organised workshop on ”Accountability, Transparency and Conflict: Challenges for Local Governance” was held in Hambantota on 6–8 February 2009. Read a report from the workshop.
A year later, on 12 November 2009, this same project, originally planned for by a SASNET grant, was awarded SEK 2.83 m as a three years grant (2010-12) from Sida/SAREC’s Developing Country Research Council (U-landsforskningsrådet). The research project was now renamed ”Corruption and Conflict: Links and Experiences in Post-War Sri Lanka”.
More information about the 2009 Sida grants.

Camilla Orjuela has also been involved in a project entitled ’Human Security and Social Recovery in post-Tsunami Sri Lanka’ (funded by Sida’s Research Council, 2008-2010), together with Marita Eastmond and Carolina Ivarsson, social anthropologists at the School of Global Studies.

In the 2008 round of planning grants, SASNET also decided to support an application from Dr. Michael Schultz, to organise an interdisciplinary Sri Lanka Conference on Peace and Development Research, to be held in Kandy, Sri Lanka in August 2009. The conference will be jointly organised by two Swedish partners, namely the School of Global Studies in Gothenburg, and the Dept. of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University (Dr. Kristine Höglund); and two Sri Lankan institutions, University of Peradeniya, and the Social Development Institute in Kandy (a non-government organization working in community empowerment and peace building efforts in various parts of Sri Lanka). The main collaborating partners is Sri Lanka will be Professor Kalinga Tudor Silva, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Peradeniya; and Dr. Dhammika Herath, a fresh PhD from the School of Global Studies (more information about Dr. Herath below). More information about the 2008 SASNET planning grants.
Abstract: The aim of this first Sri Lanka Conference on Peace and Development Research (SPDR) is to bring together and initiate a process of dialogue among local and international academic researchers and doctoral students, who study about peace and development related issues in Sri Lanka. The conference provides a forum for researchers and doctoral students based in Sri Lanka, in Nordic countries and other countries across the globe to discuss their research findings, ongoing research projects and research proposals. The conference lays a heavy emphasis on the potential of reconstruction, reconciliation and development prospects in the war affected regions of Sri Lanka. Full information about the conference.

The SASNET supported Kandy conference on “Peace and Development in Sri Lanka” has resulted in a publication of a book, Post-War Reconstruction in Sri Lanka: Prospects and Challenges, edited by Dhammika Herath and Michael Schulz from PADRIGU, plus Dr. Kristine Höglund, Dept. of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, and Prof. K.T Silva, University of Peradeniya.
The book was launched in December 2010 by the International Center for Ethnic Studies, and consists of a collection of conference papers by local and international researchers and doctoral students, as well as practitioners. The practitioner side was represented by professionals engaged in peace and development through their work in International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and government institutions. The papers in this book reflect the participants’ practical experience and research findings stemming from ongoing research projects.
More information about the book.

• Dr. Monica Erwér defended her dissertation on ”Transforming Politics; Gender, Power and Agency in Kerala South India”, on Thursday 30 October 2003. In the thesis she has studied development and the emerging gender politics in terms of negotiations between the state and collective actors, such as the feminist network and the left women’s movement, and also possibilities and constraints of empowerment. Read the abstract.
Erwér was supervised jointly by Björn Hettne, Michael Tharakan at Center for Development Studies in Kerala, and Dr Ann Marie Goetz, at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK. The Faculty opponent was Prof. Gita Sen from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Monica Erwér was instrumental in setting up the Centre for Global Gender Studies (CGGS) at PADRIGU, in collaboration with IDS and its South Asia scholars like Dr Naila Kabeer and Dr Ramya Subramanian.
Since August 2009, Dr. Erwér works as Team Leader for the Swedish non-governmental organisation Svalorna Indien-Bangladesh (The Swallows India Bangladesh section) an organisation headquartered at Lund, and working mainly with local organisations in Tamil Nadu (India) and in Rajshahi district (Bangladesh). More information about The Swallows India Bangladesh.

• Dr. Marie Thynell (photo to the right) defended her dissertation on ”The Unmanageable Modernity. An Explorative Study of Motorized Mobility in Development” on 5 April 2003. The thesis is an explorative study of a neglected area in International Political Economy and Development Studies. The study includes a comparison of the historical evolvement of motorization in Brasília and Teheran, as well as a comparison of the handling of current urban transport problems in Rome and New Delhi, India. Read the abstractMore information about her research at her personal web page.

• Dr. Gunilla Blomqvist Sköldberg (photo to the left) defended her doctoral dissertation on ”Gender Discourses at Work: Export Industry Workers and Construction Workers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India” on Thursday 3 June 2004. The dissertation project includes a study on ideologies and discourses of gender segregation within the garment export industry and construction industry in Chennai, India. Field work was carried out in Chennai during 1999-2001. The thesis analyses how gender and gender hierarchies are discursively shaped, reproduced and reinterpreted among two groups of low income workers; export industry and construction industry workers. Faculty opponent was Professor Naila Kabeer, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, England. Read the abstract to the dissertation.
At the Development studies research conference held at Lund University in January 2003 Gunilla Blomqvist presented a paper on ”Culture, globalisation – Indian versus Western values”. Read the abstract.
More information from her personal web page.
Since 2008, Dr. Blomqvist is the coordinator for GADNET (the Gender and Development Network), a Sida/SAREC funded multidisciplinary national network of Swedish researchers and doctorate students with specific research interests in gender and development. The network was formed in April 2004 and is institutionally based at the Centre for Global Gender Studies (CGGS) at Gothenburg University. It has been funded by Sida/SAREC for the period 2004-09.
She is also the main applicant for a new Sida-funded research sub-network on Gender and Development in Practice that GADNET will run during the period 2010–2012. More information.

• Dr. Bent Jørgensen (photo to the right) has previously worked on ethnic conflicts in India. In 1997 he defended his licentiate thesis at the department, titled ”From Frontiers of Empires to Borders of States – and Beyond. Images from India”. Later, he has however mostly changed over to research on Vietnam (and defended his doctoral dissertation titled ”Development and ‘The Other Within’. The Culturalisation of the Political Economy of Poverty in the Northern Uplands of Viet Nam” in 2006). His main research field for the PhD has been related to the linkage between globalisation and marginalisation, and how globalisation changes the living conditions of poor people and subnational identity groups. More information at his personal web page.

• Dr. Rodrigo Tavares worked as a research fellow at the department. He is a Portugese citizen, but came to Sweden in 2001 as a guest student to the Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University. In the Fall 2004 he was attached to the Delegation of the European Commission to India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka in New Delhi.
Rodrigo Tavares (photo to the right) is also an Associate Research Fellow at United Nations University – Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS). Some of his main areas of interest are Peace and conflict theory; Regional peace and security; European and South Asian security and politics; and the Kashmir conflict. He is also a member of Transcend, a network of international researchers on peace, conflict and development studies created by Johan Galtung. On 15 December 2006, Rodrigo Tavares defended his doctoral dissertation titled ”Understanding Regional Peace and Security: A Framework for Analysis” that has an emphasis on South Asia and Europe. Faculty opponent was Elzbieta Stadtmuller from the Institute of International Studies, University of Wroclaw, Poland. More information about the thesis.
Dr. Tavares now works as an Associate Research Fellow at the United Nations University – Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU–CRIS) in Brugge, Belgium, but living in Brazil. He has been engaged in a major project on Africa, but has also been involved in studies on Kashmir and South Asia, writing articles in International magazines. More information from his personal web page.

Naila Kabeer, was a guest professor (Hasselgren Professorship) at the Centre for Global Gender Studies in 2004 (up to 15 January 2005), but is now back to her ordinary position as Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK. She is however still closely engaged with PADRIGU, and is a member of the board for the Centre for Global Gender Studies.
Kabeer who comes from Bangladesh is a social economist and works primarily on poverty, gender, and social policy issues. She is the author of books such as ”Reversed Realities: Gender Hierarchies in Development Thought” (Vero 1994) and ”The Power to Choose: Bangladeshi Women and Labour Market Decisions in London and Dhaka” (Verso 2000). In 2003 she published ”Gender Mainstreaming in Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals – a handbook for policy makers and other stakeholders” at IDRC Books, the publishing arm of Canada’s International Development Research Centre).

Sandwich programme for PhD candidates from Sri Lanka:

Six PhD candidates from Sri Lanka were accepted in 2003 to join a four years doctoral programme at PADRIGU, run on a sandwich basis with the universities of Peradeniya, Kandy, and Jaffna, and partly financed by the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida/SAREC. The programme started in September 2003, and consisted of three parts; first 10 months fully funded initial stay in Gothenburg, then two years fieldwork in Sri Lanka, and finally a period back in Sweden up till the dissertation.
The PhD candidates connected to the School of Global Studies have been:

Dhammika Herath (see above).

• Bahirathy Jeeweshwara, (see above)

•  Sachitra Mungali Kumari, Lecturer, Dept of Sociology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. On Thursday 18 December 2008, Ms. Kumari defended her Licentiate thesis at Gothenburg University. The thesis was titled ”A Study of War-Affected Children in Sri Lanka”. The opponent was Dr. Camilla Orjuela from the same department.
Abstract: The thesis aims to build up an analytical model for studying rehabilitation programmes for children in Sri Lanka, with a view to future research. This area is considered very important, because children’s perspectives in the post-war reconstruction efforts can be considered as still a largely invisible subject. On one hand, children’s participation in reconstructions decision-making is very rare. On the other hand, children are not receiving adequate attention in this decision-making. For instance, UNESCO (2002) says that most post-conflict situation focuses only on children’s short-term needs, and children’s development orientation is always neglected. Therefore, the intention is to highlight thinking about how war-affected children can be included in the post-war reconstruction effort in Sri Lanka, and how they can be helped to overcome violent experiences, and to rebuild their lives within the long-term development perspectives.  At the same, understand some specific problems that children face due to ongoing war in Sri Lanka, as a bridge for understanding what kinds of problems should be addressed by the rehabilitation programmes.
The study was conducted in three war-torn areas in areas in Sri Lanka in 2005. It was based on three steps over a time period of nearly six month. The findings show that children who live in war-torn areas can be affected by war, psychologically, physically and socially, and these effects can occur both directly and indirectly. At the same time, this study reveals that those effects are interrelated and cannot be taken in isolation.

•  Shanta Wanninayake, Lecturer, Dept of Sociology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Mr. Wanninayake participated in the 18th European Conference for Modern South Asian Studies, organised by SASNET in Lund in July 2004, presenting a paper titled ”Economic Liberation and Labour Migration in Sri Lanka” in panel no 7 (about Social and Political Implications of Economic Liberalization in South Asia). Read an abstract of the paper. He is working on a PhD project titled ”Internal Displacements, Settlements and Host Community Relationship in War affected areas in Sri Lanka”. More information at his personal web page.

Doreen Arulanandam, Assistant Lecturer, Dept of Sociology, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. She is working on a dissertation project dealing with the Post-conflict and Reconstruction process in Sri Lanka. At the 2nd Swedish National Conference on Peace Research organised by the School of Global Studies/PADRIGU on behalf of Swedish Network of Peace, Conflict and Development Research in Gothenburg 7–8 September 2006, Doreen Arulanandam presented a paper titled ”Women in Social Reconstruction – Multifaceted Engagement in War Ravaged Northern Sri Lanka”. Personal web page.

Shanti Nandana Wijesinghe, Senior Lecturer, from the Dept of Sociology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, working on a doctoral thesis on ”Reconstruction, Resettlement and Health in Conflict zones in Sri Lanka”.

Education and Research cooperation with University of Madras

On 27 May 2002, the Department signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras, Chennai, India, with the purpose to promote peace studies in India. At the heart of this long-term research collaboration and scholarly exchange were two components: Teaching and research. The teaching component included the responsibility of offering an introductory course on ‘Peace and Conflict Resolution’ to masters level students at the School of Social Sciences, University of Madras.
The research component, which was of a complementary nature to the teaching programme, was supposed to analyze the teaching and research in peace and conflict resolution both within and outside India and to produce a monograph on ”Curriculum Guide”. Further, a ”Peace Studies Reader” encompassing essays on important topics relevant to developing countries in general and India in particular was supposed to be produced to help the students of peace studies.
Dr. Stellan Vinthagen was in charge of this curriculum work. In August 2004 Stellan Vinthagen was awarded a planning grant from SASNET to develop the masters course in Chennai, and a preparatory Education and Research Workshop on introducing the joint Swedish-Indian Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies programme (PCTS) was held at the University of Madras, 22–26 November 2004.
• Dr. Senthil Ram at the Dept. of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras, was the Indian coordinator in the collaboration project. Ram had been a visiting researcher at Padrigu during 2004, and completed his PhD at Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU, in New Delhi on Tibetan Exile Politics.


• Between 2000 and 2005 the PADRIGU researcher Leif Ohlsson edited an excellent web publication in Swedish called Omvärldsbilder – of great value for researchers and students with an interest to follow how issues on Human rights, Conflicts, Resources and Environment are covered by United Nations and other international organizations. The work was performed on behalf of The Swedish National Museums of World Culture and with support from Sida.

On behalf of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), between 2003 and 2006 Leif Ohlsson also edited a web page and electronic Newsletter called ”Environment, Development & Conflict – EDC News”.
It has been discontinued, but its coverage of news and reports on the relationship between poverty alleviation, population dynamics, natural resources, livelihoods and health is nowadays included in the electronic newsletter Sustainable Development Update (SDU), a newsletter commissioned by the Environment Policy Division at Sida. From 2009, the SDU newsletter has been converted into a News Blog. Read it here!