Affects, emotions and interaction: the methodological promise of video data analysis in peace research

Isabel Bramsen, Jonathan Luke Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methodologically, Peace Research has long been dominated by words, numbers, and sometimes images. This article suggests also integrating Video Data Analysis (VDA) into the analytical toolbox of Peace Research so as to explore the potential of the millions of videos of relevance for the study of peace and conflict that can be found online and beyond. The article introduces VDA and shows how the method can be applied to analyse micro-dynamics of phenomena such as violence, conflict, mediation, and peacebuilding. Videos enable researchers to observe events that no or few researchers would otherwise have access to from their armchairs, integrating the attentiveness to interaction and atmosphere that only ethnographers would have. While losing the ethnographer’s benefit of ‘being there’, videos allow researchers to replay events in slow motion and thus capture subtle dynamics of timing, interaction, and affect. The article discusses the epistemological challenges, ethical dilemmas, and future promises of applying VDA in Peace Research and provides concrete examples of how the observation of affects reflected in body postures and facial expressions, as well as the social bonds reflected in the rhythm and content of interaction, can be of value in peace research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-473
Number of pages17
JournalConflict, Security and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Free keywords

  • affects
  • emotions
  • peace research
  • positionality
  • Video data analysis


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