Forging Resilient Social Contracts is a research and scholar-policy dialogue project based at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa. It aims to revitalise the social contract concept amidst conflict and fragility and to advance pathways for preventing violent conflict and achieving and sustaining peace. Findings from Phase I research and policy dialogue work focused on nine country cases and produced evidence based, context specific findings on how national social contracts manifest and adapt, transcending ephemeral elite bargains into more inclusive, durable arrangements for peace. Phase II of this project is deepening research into critical themes and new regions and countries, with emphasis on how to assess the social contract as a pathway out of difficult transitions and towards sustaining to peace. The project is supported by an esteemed Working Group of international scholar and policy advisers, and authors from the countries in focus, directed by scholar-policy adviser Erin McCandless.



Special Issue on our work in Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding

Our work is now published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, through a Special Issue (14:1) on ‘Resilient Social Contracts and Peace’. Five of our case studies are featured: South Africa, South Sudan, Tunisia, Colombia, and Bosnia and Hercegovina, as well as a deeper investigation into the role of inclusion in forging resilient social contracts. View journal issue and access complimentary opening article.

April 16th, 2019|News|

Our Phase I summary findings are now out in French. Please help us circulate to Francophone audiences!

French language version of our Phase I Summary Findings: Forging Resilient Social Contracts

L’initiative « Forging Resilient Social Contracts: Preventing Violent Conflict and Sustaining Peace » (Établir des contrats sociaux résilients : prévenir les conflits violents et pérenniser la paix) est un projet de recherche et de concertation sur les actions à mener portant sur onze pays, qui vise à rétablir le contrat social face au conflit et à la fragilité afin de faire progresser les politiques et les pratiques en matière de prévention des conflits violents et d’instauration et de pérennisation de la paix.

April 15th, 2019|News|
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Click to see our latest publications, which include findings documents, framing documents and country studies.

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South Africa

South Sudan




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The project has gratefully received support from UNDP’s Oslo Governance Center, the Julian J. Studley Fund of the Graduate Program of International Affairs at The New School, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung - Berlin and New York.
It is also a proud recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Award.