Interpretive Struggles through Violence

The projects in this thematic area focus on how the legitimacy of violence is contested in phases of transition. How is past violence represented and negotiated, and how are (former) perpetrators of violence dealt with? Along the central axes of time and space, sociological and historical research relate the European level to the ‘Global South’ and work on their mutual influences comparatively.

The comparative perspective promotes a multi-methodological approach, in which elements from war and violence research as well as the sociology of violence and post/decolonial approaches are incorporated, as well as approaches to international law and international relations. Local case studies will serve as a burning glass on global phenomena. Using the approach of area studies, case studies from the immediate region as well as from the Global South can be linked.

Another essential aspect in this thematic field is how colonial violence undergoes a change of interpretation in local societies (here: especially Augsburg) over time. Established hierarchies of ‘Global South’ and ‘North’ are thus renegotiated again and again, although structures of domination and power underlie narratives of the past and continue to structure prevailing knowledge about conflict and violence today. For this reason, Peace and Conflict Research is itself part of and an actor in those interpretive struggles in which established Eurocentric patterns of thought are called into question, and is thus particularly dependent on a connection between historical and social science perspectives.


PD Dr. Florian Kühn
University of Bayreuth

Project description will be added soon.


Alexander Schwarz & Dr. Julia Eichenberg
Institute for Franconian Regional History,
University of Bayreuth

The project deals with the role and conception of the Franconian Free Corps in the context of the suppression of the Munich soviet republic at the end of the First World War. Of particular interest are the socio-political interpretive struggles about the coming form of government after the collapse of the German Empire.

The aim of the study is – in addition to the regional historical reappraisal – to explore the conditions and consequences of these interpretive struggles. The focus is on the concrete role of enemy images. In addition to ideological attitudes, the high level of brutality emanating from the paramilitary units will be historically classified and thought of in the context of the subfield “Interpretive Struggles Through Violence”.

The role of constructions of the enemy image and violence are exciting aspects of sociopolitical processes of change. The elaboration of such interpretive struggles in the constitution of the first German democracy can serve as a basis for the analysis and research of current democracy movements and their opponents.


Christina Pauls, M.A. & Prof. Dr. Christoph Weller
Chair for Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies,
University of Augsburg

The project “Struggles of Interpretation in the Coloniality of Peace” approaches the coloniality of peace with post- and decolonial theories and considers their problematization by social movements. Using selected case studies of interventions that challenge collective memory of colonialism in the public sphere, the project examines what alternative forms of knowledge are produced by these interpretive struggles, how they are dealt with, and what implications this has for current understandings of peace. The project therefore ties in with current decolonization efforts and places them in a direct context with peace.