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University of Bielefeld
Published in International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 9(1) 2015: 1-14.
In the “Peacebuilding Compared” research project violence is seen as cascading across space and time within and between war-torn societies. This article illustrates the cascade lens as a framework for hypothesis generation. Both violent actions and violent imaginaries cascade. The recent history of Sri Lanka is used to illustrate three cascade dynamics: crime cascades to war, war cascades to more war and to crime, and crime and war both cascade to state violence such as torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial execution. Sri Lanka is also a case that cascaded new technologies of crime-war globally, such as suicide bombing vests. These are not the only important cascade dynamics, just neglected ones. The implications of our cascade analysis are not mainly about building positive peace – peace with justice, participation, truth and reconciliation – at the end of tragic cascades. They are more about securing negative peace preventively at the onset of cascades.