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

Project leader: Helmut Krieger
DDS'staff involved: Petra Dannecker, Klaudia Rottenschlager
Funded by: Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
Project duration: 01. Dezember 2018 – 30. November 2021
Project partners:

  • Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Center for Development Studies, Birzeit University, Palestine
  • Syrian Center for Policy Research, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Mousawat, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Center for Peace Research and Peace Education, Alps-Adriatic-University Klagenfurt, Austria

About the project

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 6.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) especially Syria’s neighboring countries have hosted them for the past years. As of December 2017, more than 80% of all registered refugees in Lebanon are women and children. At the same time and while the war in Syria continues, reconstruction efforts have already started in the country.

To achieve a more adequate understanding of conflict and war zones and thus reorient interventions by donors, NGOs, and governmental bodies, the project partners have identified three main problems:

  • Existing field research approaches and methodologies in social sciences are inadequate for conflict and war zones.
  • Transdisciplinary research has not yet been established for conflict and war zones.
  • The power nexus between war, flight, humanitarian programmes, 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 and, optionally, Syria, the PPs 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 and regional team of transdisciplinary, gender and class sensitive knowledge producers has been established as core group of the network TransKnow.
  • Critical knowledge on the power nexus of war, flight, humanitarian programmes, 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. TransKnow will guarantee the project’s sustainability and will serve as the institutional center of transdisciplinary and transformative research. By doing that, target groups (universities, researchers, students, international donors, governmental bodies, NGOs, social initiatives) 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. In the long term, the project thus contributes directly or indirectly to several Sustainable Development Goals as well.