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From disaggregated findings to „bigger picture“ and spatial modeling implications in peacekeeping research. Reply to „Violence reduction or relocation“ by Laura Peitz and Gregor Reisch


The article “Violence reduction or relocation” by Laura Peitz and Gregor Reisch examines how local variation in the presence of peacekeepers influences violence in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This reply first discusses the authors’ contributions to existing peacekeeping literature, then highlights its practical relevance and finally suggests three avenues for future research. The first contribution is the sophisticated differentiation of peacekeeping troops by their force projection capacity, which existing quantitative research tends to ignore. The second contribution is the comparison between peacekeepers’ effects on events of armed fighting to their effects on one-sided violence against civilians, showing that unarmed observers are more successful in civilian protection than we previously thought. The third contribution is an analysis of how peacekeepers geographically shift violence away from peacekeeping bases, going beyond the conventional focus on analysing direct effects in peacekeepers’ deployment locations. Together, these insights point to at least three avenues for future research. First, the finding of spatial displacement effects calls for a re-assessment of the overall local effectiveness of peacekeeping operations in reducing violence. Second, examining how mandate modifications, especially the move to offensive peace enforcement operations, influence peacekeeping effectiveness deserves more attention. Finally, the article uses novel, spatially disaggregated data on violence and peacekeeping. Analysing these data refines our knowledge on local peacekeeping practices, but also opens room for new spatial modeling techniques and warrants careful thinking of realistic counterfactuals in order to correctly interpret the substantive effects of local peacekeeping deployment.

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Correspondence to Hannah Smidt.

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Smidt, H. From disaggregated findings to „bigger picture“ and spatial modeling implications in peacekeeping research. Reply to „Violence reduction or relocation“ by Laura Peitz and Gregor Reisch. Z Friedens und Konflforsch 9, 203–209 (2020).

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  • Peacekeeping
  • UN troops
  • Peace enforcement
  • Spatial data analysis
  • Spill-over effects
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo