Perpetrator Inclusion

Core to VIPRE is the view that the human figure of the perpetrator has been for too long excluded from scientific inquiries into the conditions of possibility underlying political violence. While perpetrators have been integrated into ideational studies of the discourses that enable violence or have been actively designated as the targets of legal interventions, concrete inquiries into the ‘personhood’ of perpetrators have often been lacking. In recent years, this omission has been challenged through the development of a perpetrator studies research agenda across numerous research centres. VIPRE’s research team has been central to this effort. Specifically, as part of its empirical research, VIPRE’s team have conducted extended ethnographic interviews with perpetrators of war crimes from Syria, the United States, Iraq, Canada, and beyond. These interviews have focused on understanding the non-purposeful drivers of abuse that VIPRE focuses on. Our goal in this work has been to humanize the figure of the perpetrator and – in so doing – to conceptualise new modes of intervening into the drivers of the violence they perpetrate.