Research briefs have one of two main goals. First, an author can summarize the policy implications of their forthcoming or published article or book. Second, an author can summarize existing research on a certain topic with an emphasis on emerging insights. Note also that no matter the goal, the research briefs are not meant to provide actual policy recommendations unless they are based on research that includes policy recommendations.
Dr. Deborah Mayersen
In “‘Is Help Coming?’ Communal Self-Protection During Genocide,” Deborah Mayersen examines whether communal self-protection offers a viable strategy for vulnerable groups attempting to mitigate the impact of genocide. Communal self-protection is defined here as cooperative communal activities undertaken by civilians to avoid or mitigate genocidal oppression. Despite recent initiatives in atrocity prevention, including the Responsibility to Protect principle, vulnerable groups continue to experience genocide. Some, such as the Yazidis in Iraq in 2014, have attempted to mitigate the impact of genocide through self-protection strategies. Yet communal self-protection is only feasible as a strategy in limited circumstances. Even in a best-case scenario, attempts at self-protection can only offer a temporary and highly precarious reprieve from genocide. Ultimately, groups attempting self-protection are reliant upon external rescue for survival, which may or may not be forthcoming. Therefore, communal self-protection should not be considered as a viable strategy to mitigate the impact of genocide in any circumstances. This is an important consideration for policymakers and practitioners responding to genocide, or the threat of its imminent onset.
Stacey M. Mitchell and Úrsula Oswald-Spring
In “A New Paradigm: Engendered-Sustainable Peace and Security,” Úrsula Oswald Spring and Stacey M. Mitchell propose a new way in which to conceive of peacebuilding, different from the conceptions of peacebuilding proposed by policymakers and scholars influenced by Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Cosmopolitanism, and even Feminism. From a policymaking perspective, thinking of peacebuilding through the lens of a holistic engendered, sustainable peace and security (ESPS) improves on extant paradigms that approach peace largely as a matter of institutional change, norm revision, the absence of conflict, and/or neoliberal economic reforms, and all through a worldview created and dominated by men. By shifting the focus towards addressing the larger, systemic causes of violence and inequality, an ESPS provides the framework for a gender-egalitarian positive peace.