The research aims to fill a gap in evidence and understanding about what a resilient national social contract means for people in different countries affected by conflict and fragility, how it manifests and adapts, nesting and interacting with other social contracts at different levels, and between different groups. Findings from twelve country cases studies, and subsequent comparative analysis and dialogue, aim to advance policy and practice pathways for preventing violent conflict and achieving and sustaining peace.

Related Report: Phase 1 Summary Findings

This Summary Findings Report introduces the project context, the project’s research framing, and findings from nine of the 11 case studies. Numerous validation workshops and policy dialogues in the case study countries and elsewhere inform the findings. Policy recommendations for national and international policymakers are shared. These findings and recommendations provide a basis for deepened future research and related policy and project activity.

The project activities reported on here took place from 2016-mid 2018 and include case research in these countries, a series of policy and scholarly dialogues and this summary. Future project work could include policy papers on critical themes emerging from the research, knowledge products featuring the case studies, and a social contract assessment tool. 

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Related Report: Study Framing Document

This working paper makes a case for rethinking the social contract concept in the contemporary era, in countries affected by conflict and/or fragility. Inspired by policy efforts to rethink the concept as a means to better address the challenges of peacebuilding and statebuilding, the paper aims to theoretically ground the topic and offer a heuristic framing that supports the evolution of scholarship, policy and practice. 

This framing paper, and the wider project it lays a foundation for, seeks to build the intellectual lineage and practical utility of the social contract concept in ways that encompass core values and mechanisms associated with the social contract historically, yet with attention to the dynamism and adaptability needed to address contemporary challenges and realities.

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