About the PRIO Centre on Culture, Conflict and Coexistence

The PRIO Centre on Culture, Conflict and Coexistence (CCC) is a hub for interpretive research on the cultural aspects of violent conflict and peaceful coexistence. We focus on the importance of language, history, philosophy, religion and cultural production in understanding political dynamics and contestations.

The CCC encourages cross-disciplinary research by initiating research projects and hosting seminars and workshops. We champion innovative approaches to designing, conducting and disseminating research and encourage collaboration between academics and practitioners in the cultural field.

The CCC was established to answer three overarching questions:

  • How is violent conflict understood, organized and mediated through culture?
  • How does cultural production impact political discourses and practices?
  • How can cultural expressions prevent, mitigate and end violent conflict and bring societal justice and peace?

The Concept of Culture

Violent conflict is understood, justified, organized and mediated through culture. In order to cultivate peaceful coexistence, we need to understand how people invest their lives with meaning.

Our understanding of the concept of culture is both broad and deep. It is broad in the sense that it includes a wide variety of cultural expressions – from TikTok communication and paintings like Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ to the design of computer war games. It is deep because we argue that culture is not only the production of art and entertainment but also a fundamental organizing principle of politics and society, as well as an essential medium for understanding human existence and the world.

In everyday usage, the concept of ‘culture’ often imbues groups of people with essentialized traits, values and practices. Such interpretations can easily lead to distorted images of the ‘Other’ as well as unwarranted generalizations. Our research aims to show the complexity of cultural realities and help translate the web of meanings in different societies. At the same time, this work can help us understand the ways in which cultural essentializations are related to conflict.

A Research Centre within the PRIO Network

The CCC was established in 2017 as the PRIO Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict. The Centre is an integrated part of the PRIO network. It is located at PRIO’s headquarters in Oslo, and its staff is composed of PRIO and guest researchers.  

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