“Why We Fight”: Dr. Chris Blattman

Dr. Chris Blattman is the author of Why We Fight: The Roots of War and Paths to Peace and Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at The University of Chicago, in Harris Public Policy and The Pearson Institute. 

What’s behind the war in Ukraine, and what is next? Why did the Unites States remain so long in Afghanistan? What’s driving gun violence in so many US cities? Dr. Blattman will talk about how these disparate kinds of conflict have surprisingly many things in common, and will talk about what decades of social science can tell us about the answers.

Dr. Blattman received an Emerging Scholar Award (formerly Dissertation Fellowship) in 2006 for his project “The Impact of War on Young Ex-Combatants and the Determinants of Reintegration Success: A Study of Children and Youth in Northern Uganda.”

About Why We Fight: The Roots of War and Paths to Peace from Penguin Random House:
Why We Fight draws on decades of economics, political science, psychology, and real-world interventions to lay out the root causes and remedies for war, showing that violence is not the norm; that there are only five reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers turn the tides through tinkering, not transformation.
From warring states to street gangs, ethnic groups and religious sects to political factions, there are common dynamics to heed and lessons to learn. Along the way, through Blattman’s time studying Medellín, Chicago, Sudan, England, and more, we learn from vainglorious monarchs, dictators, mobs, pilots, football hooligans, ancient peoples, and fanatics.

What of remedies that shift incentives away from violence and get parties back to dealmaking? Societies are surprisingly good at interrupting and ending violence when they want to—even gangs do it. Realistic and optimistic, this is a book that lends new meaning to the adage “Give peace a chance.”

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