Sociology and war
by Anne Holohan
What is a European Commission Marie Curie Incoming International fellowship? Why
move to Italy? Why Trento? To start from the top...
Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowships are designed to attract
researchers working outside Europe to come to work in Europe. The goal is to
improve the quality and competitiveness of research in the EU. Although I grew
up in Ireland I am eligible for this award, as I lived in the US for the 7 and a
half years prior to coming to Italy (the rule being you must have lived outside
Europe for 5 years prior to getting the award). So what is my research and why
is Italy a good place to do it in and from?
My research concerns international interventions, whether authorized by the UN
or not. These interventions involve security, democratization and reconstruction.
No one organization can do it alone (as is being shown in Iraq with the US
military's difficulties). My research tries to answer the question of how to get
the diverse organizations working on these tasks in international interventions,
such as Kosovo or Afghanistan or Iraq, to cooperate together, and with the local
populations. I propose that if the organizations temporarily become part of one
integrated 'network' organization that is also loose enough to include the local
populations, this goes a long way to producing the necessary trust and shared
institutional culture that makes possible real cooperation and coordination.
Information and communication technologies such as the Internet and mobile
phones also play a big role in establishing trust and improving cooperation.
My research agenda includes testing in Afghanistan the model of cooperation that
I learned in Kosovo. In addition, I am building on the research I did in Kosovo
to produce theory and ideas that increase our understanding of networking and
cooperation between organizations and local networks. In particular I am looking
at predominantly Islamic societies, at the faith-based networks and local
institutions that can contribute in as yet untapped ways to democratization.
So why Trento? My research touches on a lot of subject areas within sociology,
political science and communications, and is best summed up as “the sociology of
international relations.” The University of Trento has a diverse and
distinguished range of professors and research across the range of my interests,
so it is an excellent intellectual environment for me. On another level, as we
all know, there is a wide range of views within and between the United States
and Europe on interventions, and having lived in and experienced the United
States, the European Commission and Trento are giving me the opportunity to
learn more about international relations from a European perspective.
And the glorious mountains, lakes, food and vino have nothing to do with it….
Anne Holohan’s book, Networks in Democracy: Lessons
from Kosovo for Afghanistan, Iraq and Beyond, will be published by
Stanford University Press in Spring, 2005. She can be contacted at: