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


Introduction about the project

KnowWar critically examines the power nexus between war, warfare, flight, humanitarian programs, (forced) repatriation, and reconstruction in Syria and its repercussions in Lebanon. It works towards the development of trans-disciplinary methodologies which allow a critical understanding of these conditions and discourses.

Centre for Development Studies (CDS) aspires through this project to contribute to the production of critical knowledge, methodologies and approaches in social sciences that can be used to conduct research in times of war. This knowledge production process is based on a participatory approach that gets the researched communities involved in the research process, give them voice and critically read and assess the dominant knowledge produced on these communities. This brief report summarizes the four main phases that reflect the work progress of the CDS team on the Know-War project so far.

Strategic Approach & Methodology

KnowWar’s methodology is based on transformative research approaches that bring together and center local academic as well as non-academic grassroots knowledge producers in order to engage in reclaiming and redefining how we research conflict, flight, and war in the Arab world and who is included in these research processes.

Furthermore, the project’s South-South cooperation between universities, research institutes and community based organizations in Lebanon, Palestine and, optionally, Syria, combined with collaboration with Austrian universities lays the foundation for strengthening the institutional capacities as well as transdisciplinary research network between all partners involved in the project.

KnowWar will develop an institutional space in which an international community of critical knowledge producers using transdisciplinary research and transformative research approaches and methodologies in colonization and war zones can be established. Hence, the overall strategy of KnowWar is to institutionalize such research approaches and methodologies in the field of development. By establishing a network of international knowledge producers at the end of the research project), this network shall serve as the central reference point for transdisciplinary research and transformative decolonial, feminist and other critical field research approaches and methodologies in war zones and in conditions of colonialism. 

In doing so this research project will contribution to deepening our understanding of transformative research methodologies and epistemologies that further the imperatives of social and economic justice in conditions of flight, conflict, war, and reconstruction in colonial conditions and war zones.

Project Objectives

This research project is organized around the following:

  • Engage with, develop and apply de-colonial feminist and other transformative field research approaches and methodologies in the context of war and colonization.
  • Establish an international and regional team of transdisciplinary knowledge producers as core group of the network TransKnow. TransKnow will be further developed beyond the project.
  • Disseminate and discuss critical knowledge on the power nexus of war, flight, humanitarian programmes, repatriation, and reconstruction from gender and class sensitive perspectives.
  • Engage knowledge producers at various levels, students, researchers and academics to develop research methodologies and epistemologies that defy hegemonic perspectives and produce knowledges that seek to transform power relations, social hierarchies and inequalities that are entrenched in war, displacement and reconstruction.
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Editorial Board - CDS Birzeit, Palestine

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