Context Column


Centre for European Peace and Security Studies (ZEUS)

About ZEUS

The Centre for European Peace and Security Studies (ZEUS) addresses – as determined by the intermediate-term work program of the IFSH – the realization, effect and legitimacy of traditional and current peace strategies. The central question being discussed is whether the strategies, concepts and means of the EU, its member states and partners (third party states, international organizations, regional organization, NGOs and other civil actors) apply in their foreign policy – also considering the constantly shifting conditions of the globalized world – are appropriate from a peace research and peace policy point of view.

ZEUS contributes its publications, theory-based policy analysis, and attendance of national or international conferences, political consulting and its position papers to the overarching research topics of the intermediate-term work program of the IFSH. Additionally, ZEUS assists in promoting young talent in the research field by part-taking in the graduate program MPS, which also incorporates the different topics of the institute.

The research within the institute takes place mostly in working groups that consist of a broad mix of researchers from across ZEUS and the other research units.

  • The first multi-unit cluster is ‘Changes in the Forms of Violence’. It analyses how the use of violence by single EU-members, partner states, state entities such as the EU or NATO, or civil actors has changed. It leads to the main question: How does the changing of the form of violence manifest itself? How can these shifts, as demonstrated for example in the Ukraine crisis, be explained on a theoretically level? What are the challenges that these changes may bring? How are the EU and its partners reacting to the changes? What strategies and concepts outline their responses?
  • The second multi-unit cluster is ‘Changes in Global Power Structures and Norms’. It discusses the international power shift and the legitimacy of existing norms. The focal point is: How does the EU engage as a peace maker and ‘bringer of norms’ in regions such as the Middle East, where the Palestinian project of statehood is endangered by the rising violence and transnational conflicts of the region? How can the Russian foreign policy be explained to the West and to the EU? How can ‘peace through cooperation’ be implemented between the EU and Asian regional organizations?
  • The third multi-unit cluster is ‘Intra-Societal Potentials for Violence’. This cluster’s focus of attention is the potential and tendencies for violence within the EU. Which radicalization and deradicalization processes can be observed? How does the internet contribute to radicalization? When does radicalization become terrorism? How have EU-member-states argued in favor of measures taken against terrorism and what success rates do the decision makers and the responsible ones believe these measures have?