Anders Themnér (formerly Nilsson)

Senior Researcher at NAI since January 2011.

Subject areas:
Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR), ex-combatant violence, informal military networks, post-civil war democratization, peacebuilding.
Geographical areas:
Liberia, West Africa
+46 (0)18 471 52 69
+46 (0)70 167 96 69
Research areas:
Conflict and post-conflict

Filmed interview with Anders Themnér

Warlords turn politicians

Peace-building. “Research shows that former warlords need to be included when building peace. However, in some cases they keep playing of fear when running for office”, NAI peace and conflict researcher Anders Themnér says.

Research projects

Demagogues of Hate or Shepherds of Peace: Why ‘Warlord Democrats’ (Re)securitize Wartime Identities
Together with Roxanna Sjöstedt and Mimmi Söderberg-Kovacs

Central Concepts in Peace and Conflict Research: Developing Mid-Term Indicators to Evaluate Peacebuilding

The project is done in co-operation with Thomas Ohlson (Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University) and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD).

Contemporary benchmarks for evaluating what constitutes ‘successful’ peacebuilding is still much influenced by Galtung’s classical dichotomies of ‘negative’ (absence of direct violence) and ‘positive’ peace (absence of indirect violence such as poverty, social marginalization and repression). While these two conceptions of peace can be useful benchmarks for short- (1-3 years) and long-term peacebuilding (20 years), they provide little guidance for how to evaluate peacebuilding in the mid-term (5-10 years). This project therefore seeks to develop a theoretically relevant and empirically measurable concept – strong peace – that has higher aims than just the absence of war, but has more realistic mid-term ambitions than positive peace. Drawing on inspiration from Buzan and Holsti, it is argued that strong peace is attained when there is horizontal and vertical legitimacy for the state and its institutions in post-civil war societies.

Climate Change, Natural Resource Governance and Conflict Prevention in Africa – Zambezi River Basin in Focus
The purpose of this program is to contribute to the prevention and resolution of conflicts related to climate change and natural resource governance in Africa. The research question is, more specifically: How are the shared natural resources to be governed in Africa without triggering serious conflicts, given the increasing uncertainties of their availability due to global climate change? The overarching research problem consists of three interrelated questions, which will be systematically investigated in the Zambezi River Basin: (i) To what extent are existing institutions and arrangements in shared natural resources functional, efficient, and sustainable? Which are the primary structural factors impeding their sustainable and cooperative use? (ii) Given the changing climatic conditions, what kind of regime structure should be placed to avoid conflict and lead to development and peace? (iii) How should better practices be advanced in the sharing and governance of shared natural resources among the competing stakeholders?

Academic Background

Anders Themnér is Assistant Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies. He has written extensively on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR) and informal military networks in post-civil war societies. He has worked as a lecturer at Uppsala University and is currently co-course convenor for the MA-course “International Conflict Resolution” at the Department of Peace and Conflict (Uppsala University). As part of his research he has conducted field work in Lebanon, Liberia, the Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. He is currently co-coordinator of a research project concerning former mid-level commanders and post-conflict networks in Liberia.


Release of book at Routledge

'Violence in Post-Conflict Societies Remarginalization, Remobilizers and Relationships'
By Anders Themnér
Series: Routledge Studies in Intervention and Statebuilding

This book compares post-civil war societies to look at the presence or absence of organized violence, analysing why some ex-combatants return to organised violence and others do not.

Read more about the book and how to order.

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