Cascades of Violence

Barbed wire fence

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 01 May 2018


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Ext # 8 Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


John Braithwaite and Bina D’Costa


School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)

War and crime are cascade phenomena. War cascades across space and time to more war; crime to more crime; crime cascades to war; and war to crime. As a result, war and crime become complex phenomena. That does not mean we cannot understand how to prevent crime and war simultaneously.

This presentation illustrates, for example, how a cascade analysis leads to an understanding of how refugee camps are nodes of both targeted attack and targeted recruitment into violence.

Hence, humanitarian prevention also must target such nodes of risk. Nonviolence and non-domination can also be encouraged to cascade, shunting cascades of violence into reverse. Complexity theory implies a conclusion that the pursuit of strategies for preventing crime and war is less important than understanding meta strategies.

These are meta strategies for how to sequence and escalate many redundant prevention strategies. These themes were explored across seven South Asian societies during eight years of fieldwork.

About the speaker

John Braithwaite leads the Peacebuilding Compared project, of which Cascades of Violence is a part (see During the past 14 years, fieldwork on 50 armed conflicts has involved him in interviews with 4,000 informants, mostly with co-authors such as Bina D’Costa. Most work so far has been in Asia and the Pacific, though preliminary fieldwork is also complete on more than a dozen conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America. This project reflects John’s vision for the kind of work of large scale that is hard to do in most university careers, but should be more possible at ANU. His long-term research on Global Business Regulation (particularly with Peter Drahos), comparative work on the regulation of aged care with Valerie Braithwaite and many others, research on responsive regulation (with Peter Grabosky, Ian Ayres, Valerie Braithwaite and others) and the work of the Centre for Restorative Justice (currently led by Miranda Forsyth) also reflected this ambition.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet