Low expectations?

Stabilization and stability operations as the ‘new normal’ in international interventions

2-3 febbraio 2018
Versione stampabile

Luogo: University of Trento, Department of Sociology and Social Research, Via Giuseppe Verdi, 26 - Meeting room (sala riunioni) 3rd Floor

The notion of “stability” and the practice of “stability operations” experienced a resurgence in the last decade. The United Nations, with operations in Haiti, in the Central African Republic, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mali has re-framed the lexicon and practice of its interventions in this direction. NATO has been similarly focusing on “projecting stability” as one of the cornerstones to guarantee the Alliance’s security.
The reasons for such re-framing are diverse. The lengthy, costly and casualty-heavy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq inevitably led to intervention fatigue. In the last decade or so, either interventions in conflict-ridden countries did not take place (as in Syria) or were based on minimal footprint (as in Libya), at least compared to the previous large-scale operations with ambitious social, economic and political engineering goals. In this evolving context, the conceptual and operational parameters of these stabilization interventions are still opaque.
This workshop aims at dissecting how these “new” practices emerged and are unfolding, how they have been analysed in the academic literature, what are their sub-components (e.g. what role civil-military relations or intelligence play in these operations), and how they are linked to the broader security and development discourse.


Day 1, Friday, February 2nd

13:00 pm Light Lunch
2:00 pm

Roberto Belloni (University of Trento) & Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna)
Introduction to the Workshop

2:15 pm

Stefano Costalli (University of Florence) & Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna) 
Promoting democracy or averting war? Regime transitions, international interventions, and political instability

3:15 pm

Jana Krause (University of Amsterdam)
Communal violence in the shadow of civil war: Implications for Stabilization and Protection 

4:15 pm Coffee break
4:30 pm

Marina Henke (Northwestern University, USA)
Why do UN peacekeepers die?

5:30 pm

John Karlsrud (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo)
Getting the Right Tool for the Wrong Reasons? Examining United Nations Stability Operations

6:30 pm End of Day 1
8:00 pm Social dinner

Day 2, Saturday, February 3rd

9:00 am

Mats Berdal (King’s College, London)
NATO’s Attempt at Stabilisation in Afghanistan, 2003-2014: Issues and Lessons

10:00 am Luca Raineri (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa) & Francesco Strazzari (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa & Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo)
Hybrid orders and stabilisation efforts in the Sahelo-Saharan space
11:00 am Coffee break
11:15 am Roberto Belloni (Trento) & Irene Costantini ("L’Orientale" University of Napoli)     
Iraq 2003-2017: changing approaches to stability
12:15 pm Discussion on future prospects
1:00 pm  Light lunch
2:00 pm

Tavola Rotonda - Roundtable (in Italian): 
Lo studio della pace e della guerra in Italia e nell'Unione Europea - The study of peace and war in Italy and in the European Union        


  • Valentina Bartolucci (Agency for Peacebuilding, Bologna)
  • Roberto Belloni (University of Trento)
  • Vincenzo Bove (University of Warwick)
  • Stefano Costalli (University of Florence) 
  • Irene Costantini (''L’Orientale" University of Napoli) 
  • Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genova)    
  • Sara De Simone (University of Trento)
  • Bernardo Monzani (Agency for Peacebuilding, Bologna)
  • Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna)
  • Francesco Strazzari (SSSUP, Pisa & Oslo)


  • Roberto Belloni, University of Trento
  • Francesco N. Moro, University of Bologna


Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European UnionJean Monnet  European Centre | University of Trento