Extending the Framework of Inquiry: Theories of Change in Conflict Interventions
This paper suggests that articulating, differentiating and evaluating conflict itnerventions' theories of change can provide a new way of understanding the changes that help bring about the resolution or transformation of conflicts.
Some of the most prevalent distinctions in both the academic and programme literatures about the causes of conflict and theories of change centre around levels-of-analysis – or whether change efforts focus primarily on individuals, on inter-group relationships, or on structures and systems. Using a levels-of-analysis framework, this section draws from these literatures to examine elements that make up theories of change in conflict interventions.
Like Mitchell’s framework of examining social change before, during and after a conflict, this levels-of-analysis approach is primarily a heuristic tool for organising a vast and tangled assortment of theories related to change. Most practitioners and programmes recognise the complex and reciprocal effects of changes at different levels-of-analysis. Many theories of change describe a specific relationship between these different levels, and most programmes work at all of these levels to some extent. Yet practitioners inevitably seem to choose one level as the starting point or focus in their efforts to facilitate change.