Author Q&A Session: Danielle Beswick & Paul Jackson

Authors of Conflict, Security and Development, Danielle Beswick and Paul Jackson, take a little time to tell us about the second edition and what makes their book stand out!

'Jackson and Beswick provide an essential primer on the complex issues that lie at the intersection of security and development. Wide-ranging and clearly-written, the authors deftly weave both theory and practice, and challenge us all to think more critically – and more carefully – about the consequences of international intervention.' -- Timothy Donais, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

1. Congratulations on the publication of your textbook Conflict, Security and Development! What lead you to writing it?This is a second edition of the book and we have updated and significantly added to it. I think we were both surprised at the demand for the first one as the subject really began to interest people. We were also surprised that we seemed to provide something that was comprehensive and theoretical enough for a wide range of students without losing a practical focus. We also felt that the reasons for us writing it in the first place were still valid. We originally wrote the book because we teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in this area and we were lacking a text that was written in an accessible way and also drew on case studies. Everything in our book is ‘road tested’ and taught by us in the classroom, so we know that it works.

2. Can you describe your book in one sentence?‘OK we have now signed a peace agreement and ended the war: now what do we do?’

3. Tell us an unusual fact about yourself and your teaching.Well Paul is known for not sticking to PowerPoint slides and for getting enthusiastic about his subject. Typical feedback would be ‘Paul doesn’t really give presentations, he just wanders around talking’. Danielle, however is far more organised and once even sellotaped instructions on to a desk for Paul! Between us this makes for good teamwork.

4. What motivated you to write the new edition of Conflict, Security and Development and how is the new edition different from your previous book?We have added a couple of chapters and have gone through and updated all of the references. This is a rapidly moving area and, unfortunately, there are always new case studies and new ideas. It makes it very exciting, but it also means that anyone studying (or writing) in this area needs to keep up to date. We had a long discussion with Andrew (our editor) before we updated the book because we felt that we had to provide additional material to make it worthwhile for a second edition and I think we have successfully done that. Current users of the text will find a lot of new references and cases as well as the new chapters.

5. What makes your book stand out from its competitors?A number of things make it unique in this specific area. Firstly, we have a good balance between theory and practice and we try to make sure the chapters are not too abstract, even when we are discussing theory. The case studies are critically important in this regard. Secondly, everything in the book is currently taught by us, so from a course point of view, it has already been tested and is not just a list of topics. Lastly, both of us have a lot of field experience as well as being academics, so Danielle has worked a lot in Rwanda and Sri Lanka and Paul in several parts of Africa, including Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and also in Nepal, so the cases are informed by a working knowledge as well as academic expertise.

6. Is there one piece of research included in the books which really surprised you or challenged your previous understanding of the topic?We think much of it is relatively unsurprising except in so far as it is rarely put together and is too often compartmentalised. That is something we have wrestled with here. I would also say that in researching the new chapter on the economics of post conflict development found a surprising lack of material on this very important subject. Our view was that it needed to be included in this second edition as it is too often ignored, and yet economic development remains critical to the overall success of any reconstruction strategy.

7. Have you read any Routledge books? If so, which is your favourite Routledge book at the moment?Lots! Paul frequently draws on Routledge authors across the lists, but is currently reading a three volume set of ‘Totalitarianism and Political Religions’ edited by Hans Maier, which is fascinating and is providing real food for thought.
Danielle has recently started as new area of research with colleagues in Law on the work of human rights special rapporteurs in Africa. This is a new and very tricky subject, but Rosa Freedman’s book ‘The UN Human Rights Council: A Critique and Early Assessment’ is proving to be a great way into the subject!

8. Do you have plans for any more future books? What’s next in the pipeline for you?For Paul, there are plans for a book on international intervention and hybridity in the medium-term, but more immediately there will be a book series on ‘Conflict and Development’ that is currently being discussed with Routledge, which would be a great opportunity within the subject area. Danielle is about to go on maternity leave, but will be working on an edited book project on contemporary UK Africa Policy and a monograph comparing statebuilding in Rwanda and Sri Lanka.

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