Inequalities and organised violence

According to recent research, Western policies on fragility and peacebuilding pay little attention to the “root causes” of destructive conflict. It is broadly evident that sociopolitical inequalities are among these root causes. Understanding how inequalities drive organised violence and are in turn driven by it can help inform policies for peace.

This policy brief sketches some issues and recent research findings on this topic. It focuses on inequalities among social groups as major sources of risk; the distribution of material goods, power and status as preconditions of organised violence; the dynamics of organised violence stemming from inequalities; the risks of organised violence as a consequence of inequality, and vice versa; and lines of approach open to outside agencies, including knowledge gaps that they can help fill.