Responses/ Reviews


Podcast: Root of Conflict (University of Chicago Public Policy Podcasts in partnership with The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts.  Lives Amid Violence with Mareike Schomerus 

Podcast: Fragile Truths: The Mental Landscape When Living Amidst Violence  (April 2023, English).

Interview: Die Zeit, Serie: ‘Worüber denken Sie gerade nach?‘, (April 1, 2023, German).

Podcast: New Books Network with Dr Miranda Melcher, (March 2023, English).

Review: From Poverty to Power Blog by Duncan Green (March 21, 2023, English).

Article: welt-sichten: ‘Frieden lässt sich so nicht schaffen‘ (February 2023, German)

Lives Amid Violence argues that the mental models that underpin international engagement in situations of violent conflict need to change. Is this possible? 

Can a new mental model help to change the practice of international development in situations of violent conflict?

Please share your responses and thoughts here:


Dr Gary Milante,

Programme Director, Stockholm International Peace Research Institut
Schomerus brings our attention to the most difficult challenges vexing development today, providing some useful ways forward for doing just that. It is a personal piece, written with the authors voice and informed by the authors experience, yet readers will find it applies nearly universally in the most challenging places where they work. I expect this book will become a staple, kept handy by development professionals who want to have real impact. My copy will soon be dogeared from frequent review. I’m looking forward to rereading it many times in the future.

Rebecca Wolfe,

Harris School for Public Policy, University of Chicago, USA
Using her wealth of experience of working in and with people who continue to live amidst violence, Schomerus provides readers a new framework for why development is not working in fragile places and how by shifting our mental model about how development works, we may craft a new path forward.

Michael L. Ross,

Lives Amid Violence is a profoundly important book – one that brilliantly and compassionately disrupts decades of conventional wisdom. Anyone who studies, or cares about, the survival and well-being of people who live in the midst of violent conflict will benefit from its remarkable breadth, attention to ethical nuance, and political wisdom.

Hakan Seckinelgin,

Associate Professor/Reader in International Social Policy, LSE', UK

The critical importance of this books is captured in its main question: ‘how humans live in the shadow of violence’. This substantial question is taken further by several other questions that are framing the analysis: how do we, as researchers and policy actors, know? Do we have the relevant conceptual and cognitive apparatus to deal with many of the policy challenges and failures people experience in their lives. These questions are providing much needed critical evaluation of international development policies used in post-conflict contexts. The central contribution of this critical-context analytical approach is the way it is centred on those people who are at the receiving end of these policies in different contexts, and whether their experience-based knowledge is part of the international policy thinking.

This is a must-read for those who are interested in the intersections of conflict/violence, international development policy and people’s wellbeing. The book is based on significant research knowledge and policy experiences within multiple development policy contexts. It provides theoretically informed critical analysis of development policy practice in different and differentiated conflict/post conflict contexts.

Sara Pantuliano,

Chief Executive at ODI, UK
This ground-breaking book, drawing on eight years of in-depth research by the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC), is a clarion call for doing away with technocratic approaches to supporting the lives and livelihoods of people affected by conflict, and recognizing that development work is intensely political and must be shaped by local realities.


The SLRC was a pioneering research project: the best researchers of the day applied truly innovative approaches to yield exceptionally valuable results, and very valuable conclusions.  Their work offers lessons which should advice military stabilization operations, diplomacy in conflict-affected states, development work, and international relations more broadly.  This book chronicles the most significant research programme on conflict for a decade.  Very highly recommended. 

Iain King, Author/Director, NATO Mission Iraq/ former Head of Conflict Research, DFID