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Conflict and Cooperation in Eastern Europe. The Effects of the Reconfiguration of Political, Economic and Social Spaces since the End of the Cold War (KonKoop)

Project leaders (IOS): Cindy Wittke, Ulf Brunnbauer
Project researchers (IOS): Ekaterina Mikhailova, Nikola Gajić
In cooperation withZentrum für Osteuropa- und internationale Studien (ZOiS) in Berlin, Leibniz-Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (IOS), Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL) in Leipzig, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU), Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung in Eberswalde (HNEE), Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung (ZZF) in Potsdam
Project duration: 2022—2026
Funded by: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Förderlinie „Stärkung und Weiterentwicklung der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung“

Be it Russia’s war against Ukraine today, or the Yugoslavian wars in the 1990s – eastern Europe has repeatedly been the scene of crises and military conflicts since the end of the Cold War. State borders are still not universally accepted. The BMBF-funded Competence Network “Cooperation and Conflict in Eastern Europe” (KonKoop) aims to coordinate and advance German research on conflicts in this region. The network is coordinated by the Center for Eastern European and International Studies (ZOiS) in Berlin; the IOS is involved with two subprojects, and it coordinates the activities of the projects young researchers’ network.

The Competence Network will investigate conflict and cooperation dynamics with regard to the following processes and phenomena from a multidisciplinary perspective: nation building, secession, ethnic and religious diversity, economic (dis)integration, environmental change, and ecological resources. In addition, KonKoop will provide important services to conflict research in general in Germany, for example, by advancing new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration. A multi-method data laboratory will enable a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for further research on conflict and cooperation, and the multi-perspective laboratory for peace and conflict cartography will carry out visualizations of conflicting or multiple interests. Another central aspect is the training of a new generation of conflict and peace researchers for this region, which is so important for Europe and Germany (five doctoral students and three postdocs are funded by the project). International networking is promoted through fellowships, workshops and conferences as well as on-site field research.

The two subprojects at the IOS deal on the one hand with the disputed, currently contested border region between Ukraine and Russia from a human geography perspective. In this context, a database on conflict research in Eastern Europe is also being established. On the other hand, local conflict and cooperation dynamics in the Yugoslav wars of disintegration are to be examined on the basis of an evaluation of the ICTY files.

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