Knowledge Production in Times of Flight and War – Developing Common Grounds for Research in/on Syria (Common Grounds)
Establishment of TransKnow, a regional and international knowledge network of transdisciplinary research and transformative field research approaches and methodologies for conflict and war zones against the background of the current conflict in Syria
TransKnow shall serve as a reference point for the capitalization of transdisciplinary research and transformative field research approaches and methodologies by academic and non-academic actors in the thematic field of war, flight, humanitarian programmes, repatriation, and reconstruction from gender and class sensitive perspectives in the medium and long term in the region
* Clear understanding of transformative field research approaches and methodologies for conflict and war zones has been established, practically applied and evaluated.
* Critical knowledge on the power nexus of war, flight, humanitarian programmes, repatriation, and reconstruction from gender and class sensitive perspectives has been worked out, disseminated, and widely discussed.
* Setting up the first stage of TransKnow by the 4 involved universities as core group: American University Beirut (Lebanon), Birzeit University (Palestine), University of Vienna and Alps-Adriatic-University Klagenfurt (both Austria) and one Lebanese NGO. The main rationale of the network has been developed. Basic elements of operational guidelines of the network have been worked out (e.g. which type of network, membership rules and regulations, involvement of external stakeholders, network services, network projects and activities; financial plan). TransKnow is open for new members from academic as well as non-academic sectors (approx. 10 by the end of the project).
The project is focussed on Syrian refugees in Lebanon (approx. 1.5 million). Therefore, the proposed measures will take place in Lebanon, research in Lebanon and/or Syria. The proposed TransKnow network will be established in the region with at least 10 members (e.g. universities, governmental bodies, NGOs, social initiatives, internat. donors). By holding 6 university courses, of the more than 800 students currently enrolled in the involved departments at the 4 core universities at least 100 students will directly benefit. At least 30 academics (staff and students) of those universities (Lebanon, Palestine, Austria) and from Syria will be trained – another 50 persons will be involved in working out transformative and transdisciplinary research approaches and methods. Furthermore, at least 100 researchers both based in the Global North and South shall benefit in the long term. Actively included in the project activities are 3 NGOs (1 from Lebanon and 2 from Syria). By engaging in a wide range of dissemination activities during the project cycle and establishing TransKnow, the project will reach out to at least 100 NGOs and social initiatives based in Lebanon, Syria, and Austria who deal with especially the poorer strata of refugee communities and impoverished people.
* Set-up of TransKnow and its institutionalisation
* Capacity development on transformative field research approaches and methodologies for conflict and war zones, by training MA and PhD students, by establishing a strategic relationship between academia and non-academic sectors of society (in particular social initiatives, NGOs, activists), by creating the core group of the TransKnow network and by strengthening internationalisation of the involved universities and their capacity to network in innovative research.
* Research on the power nexus between war, flight, humanitarian programmes, repatriation, and reconstruction by focussing on international programmes in Lebanon and their societal significance, and reconstruction efforts in Syria by researchers from the 4 involved universities, academics from Syria based in Lebanon and/or based at a Syrian university and NGO activists from Lebanon and Syria.
* The elaborated knowledge/methods and the research results will be widely published, discussed and disseminated.
The war in Syria has resulted in the largest population exodus in recent global history. With more than 4.8 million officially registered refugees having fled the country and more than 6.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) especially Syria’s neighbouring countries have hosted them for the past years. As of December 2017, more than 80% of all registered refugees in Lebanon are women and children. At the same time and while the war in Syria continues, reconstruction efforts have already started in the country. An adequate understanding of conflict and war zones is important for donors, NGOs, governmental bodies and other stakeholders. The following challenges can occur: existing field research approaches and methodologies in social sciences are inadequate for conflict and war zones; transdisciplinary research has not yet been established; the power nexus between war, flight, humanitarian programmes, repatriation, and reconstruction has not yet been systematically worked out.