How is violence possible?

How does one human being know how to harm another?

Face-to-face, body-to body, side-by-side, scream-to-scream, blow-to-blow?

How do ordinary people become war criminals?

What are the sources of political evil?

And how do we stop them?

The Violence Prevention (VIPRE) Initiative asks difficult questions.

Unlike most approaches to political violence, our work seeks to understand the concrete ‘doing’ of violence. We explore the conditions of possibility that see very ordinary human beings, just like you, the person reading these words, become a source of pain, suffering, and death. Our goal is to understand how bodies – bodies that we feel to be good – can do bad, can see their muscles tense to flick out the motor movements that do harm, can see their emotional response to witnessing another cry out in pain, begging them to stop, offer no resistance, and can commit these acts in symmetry with other bodies across borders, in a choreography of violence that echoes its movements here at home, and over there abroad, wherever that may be. And we seek to prevent that from occurring. We do so by drawing on cutting edge social theory, social science, and methods of scientific inquiry, combined with a deep engagement with leading humanitarian and human rights-focused organisations.

On this site you can find out more about our unique approach to violence prevention, discover and register for our forthcoming events, read our current publications, and much more.



Current Projects





The VIPRE Initiative is composed of a series of projects, led by different members of our team, which each focus either on the theory, methods, or practice of violence prevention. Click on the images above to explore some of our current projects.


Upcoming Events

12th April 2019 Shooting a Revolution: Visual Media and Warfare in Syria
Lecture from Donatella Della Ratta on political violence, aesthetics, and the media during the Syrian Revolution.
6-7th May 2019 Politics Beyond Technology: Fabricating a Future
International workshop co-convened with the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technologies and Societal Values (NordSTEVA). More details available at
6th May 2019 Against Appified Politics: What feminist intersectionality might teach us about digital Governance
Lecture from Nishant Shah. The contemporary digital moment is marked by modularity, atomisation, and individuation. I call this a condition of appification – a digital organisation and aesthetic structure that breaks up collective forms and political will into user profiles and customised apps that shape our interventions and usage of the algorithmic web. Drawing from a particular case-study of battles around Net Neutrality in India, I show how these appified politics have become the default trope on both the sides of emerging concerns. I propose that this appification often excludes and makes invisible those who are the most affected by regulation and governance of digital infrastructure. Building upon feminist and postcolonial critique, I offer three ways by intersectionality might help us revisit our strategies and tactics for resilient digital governance.
29-31st August 2019 Post-Critical IR? Activism, Critique and Change
International workshop taking place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.