8 Dec 2020

New ERC grant to CMI

We're very happy to announce that our Research Professor Antonio De Lauri has received an ERC Consolidator Grant for his project War and Fun: Reconceptualizing Warfare and Its Experience.

Competition for ERC Consolidator Grants is hard, and De Lauri is one of only eight who has received funding in Norway in this round: The University of Bergen has recevied four grants, the University of Oslo two, NTNU in Trondheim one, and De Lauri's to CMI.

Facts/ERC Consolidator Grants

  • 327 Consolidator Grants have been awarded to researchers in 23 European countries.
  • 13 % out of 2506 applications have received funding.
  • The grant has a duration of five years, with funding up to EUR 2 million.

 

De Lauri's grant is EUR 2 000 000 worth and has a duration of five years. With this ERC grant, De Lauri strengthens our work on understanding the deep and long-term effects of war. He also brings three new post docs and one new PhD student to our team. 

At the core of the War and Fun project is a groundbreaking approach to the study of the lived experiences of war. 

 -Sometimes, to really understand something, we have to look at it from a different angle. This is what I want to do with this project: an epistemic change, through the lens of soldiers and veterans, to reframe the way we understand how war unfolds, what it means to be at war, and what the long-term effects of war are on soldiers and veterans, says De Lauri.

Fun – with all its different connotations, from the most joyful to the most sinister – is a key component of war. There are several documented cases of soldiers collecting pieces of human bodies as trophies, of others having fun by making videos or photos with human skulls or corpses, or soldiers playing games like Pokemon in the midst of battle. Despite – and sometimes because of – its horror and shock, war has always been marked by the persistent presence of fun. In De Lauri's project fun is understood as an expression of both direct and indirect communication, a manner of public engagement and a “ritual of inversion” in which the personal and collective expectations of being at war are lampooned and violated, and yet the finalities of the project of war (such as dominion or control) remain intact. But how? 

-Although fun is evident in every warrior culture, and we see it from Homeric epic to Tolstoj, and from films to hip hop music and poetry, fun in war has never been the focus of systematic theorization and empirical research in the social sciences. Addressing this gap poses new conceptual challenges, but it will also give me the opportunity to rethink the epistemology of war and soldiering, he says.

-We know that war produces enormous suffering. By pointing to the nexus of war and fun, I will be able to address the need to unveil the plurality of experiences and affective grammars that are neglected by normative approaches. Research objectives include moving forward scientific debates about the construction of the enemy, produce new knowledge on the normalization of war and how soldiers cope with war, interconnect in new ways notions of agency, complicity, and participation in the context of war, and contribute to debates about sexual harassment and violence in the military.