The increasing availability of data produced through old and new media, from the radio to the mobile phone, and of techniques to analyse them, offers unprecedented opportunities to map and understand ongoing conflicts. New projects have been launched to collect voices, map hate speech, denounce abuses in real time, and track ongoing violence.

The availability of new tools, however, is also presenting new challenges. Campaigns such as #Kony2012 may give the impression that conflicts can be studied and sometimes resolved at a distance. And while big data offers the opportunity to map some of the trends that characterize a conflict, they may obfuscate how conflict is perceived and understood by those who live and suffer from it. This workshop addresses some of these ongoing trends and challenges, by bringing together scholars from different disciplines to understand how information in conflict and post-conflict areas can be gathered, interpreted and analysed in complementary ways.

PANEL I, 14.00 – 15.20
Chair: Iginio Gagliardone (Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy, CSLS, University of Oxford)

Hate Speech and Social Media: Understanding Users, Networks and Information Flows
William Housley, Adam Edwards and Matthew Williams (COSMOS, Cardiff University)

Patterns of Justification in Hate Speech and Violence
Jonathan Leader Maynard (New College, University of Oxford)

PANEL II, 15.40 – 17.00
Chair: Richard Caplan (Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford)

The fear factor is a main thing: How information on security shapes authority: The case of the Lord’s Resistance Army
Mareike Schomerus and Anouk S. Rigterink (Justice and Security Research Programme, London School of Economics)

Managing Public Opinion in China: More Speech, More Sophisticated Control
Thomas Kellogg (Northeast Asia Program Director, Open Society Foundations)

17.00 Wine Reception

About Us: The Interpretive Analysis Network (IAN) is a space created by the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford to reflect on innovations and challenges in using qualitative research methods in the social sciences. For more information about IAN, please visit the IAN Weblearn site, join us on Facebook. IAN is convened by Dr Iginio Gagliardone ( and Kate Roll (