Dr Michalis MichaelAcademic, HUSS School Operations
Dr Michael's current research involves the careful study of intergroup and international conflict and how to transform its adversarial nature away from narrow notions of state-bound security. By using various case-studies he investigates the conditions and circumstances in which disputants can alter their goals and perceptions by exploring alternative visions to entrenched situations. The main focus of his research has been the refinement of a model of analysis that centres on the parties dialectical relationship as it develops/evolves over time and under different circumstances (including within the diaspora).A second dimension of his work is an approach which combines the internal and the external. This national/international nexus serves an important function for both empirical and normative research. So far as empirical analysis is concerned, it draws attention to key factors that impinge on the intensity of intercommunal tensions within the constraints of the nation-state. Normatively, it opens up an area of considerable policy relevance - it explores whether and how it is possible to facilitate a different action/reaction syndrome, one that attenuates polarising and divisive discourse and strengthens instead the social capital for mutually enriching intercultural and interethnic dialogue and cooperation not only within its narrow geo-political confines but within its wider sub-regional context/setting. Effectively, Dr Michael's work seeks to deepen our understanding of the increasingly complex and often volatile social, political and cultural environments which conflict inhibits, and the corresponding pressures it places on both governance and civil society. By probing the need for dialogue in the conflictual setting, his research gauges the extent to which dialogue offers an effective form of communication that goes beyond traditional approaches to mediation and negotiation, and provides both governmental and non-governmental agencies with new possibilities for defusing polarisation and maximising the prospects for constructive engagement.