Informing Conflict Prevention, Response and Resolution (INFOCORE)
INFOCORE is an international collaborative research project funded under the 7th European Framework Program of the European Commission. It comprises leading experts from all social sciences dealing, and includes nine renowned research institutions from seven countries. Its main aim is to investigate the role(s) that media play in the emergence or prevention, the escalation or de-escalation, the management, resolution, and reconciliation of violent conflict. INFOCORE provides a systematically comparative assessment of various kinds of media, interacting with a wide range of relevant actors and producing diverse kinds of conflict coverage. It focuses on three main conflict regions – the Middle East, the West Balkans, and the African Great Lakes area. Its findings address both the socially interactive production process behind the creation of conflict coverage, and the dynamics of information and meaning disseminated via the media. INFOCORE focuses on the conditions that bring about different media roles in the cycle of conflict and peace building. It generates knowledge on the social processes underlying the production of conflict news, and the inherent dynamics of conflict news contents, in a systematically comparative fashion. Based on this perspective, the project identifies the conditions under which media play specific constructive or destructive roles in preventing, managing, and resolving violent conflict, and building sustainable peace. INFOCORE reconstructs the production process of conflict-related media contents, focusing on the interactions between professional journalists, political actors, experts/NGOs, and lay publics. It analyzes these actors’ different roles as sources or advocates, mediators, users and audiences in the production of professional news media, social media, and semi-public expert analysis. To assess the roles of media for shaping conflict perceptions and responses to ongoing conflicts, INFOCORE analyzes the dynamics of conflict news content over time. It identifies recurrent patterns of information diffusion and the polarization/consolidation of specific frames and determines the main contextual factors that influence the roles media play in conflict and peace building. Specifically, the project assesses the roles of individual agendas and resources, professional norms, media organizations and systems, political systems, and characteristics of the conflict situation. The INFOCORE project team has taken up its work on January 1, 2014. Its findings and selected data will be accessible to all public. During and beyond the project duration, we invite collaboration by interested researchers and practitioners.