Dr Luke Abbs

Associate Fellow
Department of Government
Dr Luke Abbs



Luke is a Research Fellow at the Centre of Religion, Reconciliation and Peace (CRRP) and Associate Fellow at the Department of Government, University of Essex. He has expertise in quantitative methods, using data analytics to explore key policy questions related to (non)violent political conflict and peacebuilding. His work has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Global Security Studies and Mobilization, and he has a forthcoming monograph, due to be published by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict in the Spring of 2021. Luke's research is focused on developing three important bodies of peace and conflict research. First, exploring the impact of religious peacebuilding and the overlap between religion, conflict and peace. Second, the emergence and dynamics of nonviolent resistance campaigns, and the impact that nonviolent actors and resistance has on the peaceful resolution of armed conflict. Third, the dynamics of civil war, including the impact of armed militias on peace processes in Africa and the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping with current studies on Darfur, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo At the CRRP he works with the centre's academic partners; secular, religious and faith-based organisations; and government and multi-national institutions worldwide, providing consultancy in many areas of peacebuilding. As an Associate Fellow at the University of Essex, Luke is continuing his collaborative work on nonviolent resistance and its impact on civil war and democracy. He has also engaged in various consultancies for the United Nations Operations Crisis Center (UNOCC), Conciliation Resources, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP). In his previous role at the University of Essex, he worked extensively with policy makers in local government, such as Essex County Council, Essex Police and the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit, using statistical methods and supervised machine learning prediction to support collaborative and evidence-based research projects. His general research interests include: nonviolent resistance and nonviolent action, peacebuilding and peace-processes, non-state armed actors, UN peacekeeping and mixed methods (i.e. combining qualitative, statistical and/or machine learning approaches). Emails: and


Journal articles (4)

Abbs, L. and Gleditsch, KS., (2021). Ticked off, but Scared off? Riots and the Fate of Nonviolent Campaigns. Mobilization. 26 (1), 21-39

Abbs, L., (2021). The Language of the Unheard? Ethno-Political Exclusion and Ethnic Riots in Africa. Journal of Global Security Studies. 6 (2)

Abbs, L., (2020). The Hunger Games: Food Prices, Ethnic Cleavages and Nonviolent Unrest in Africa. Journal of Peace Research. 57 (2), 281-296

Abbs, L., Clayton, G. and Thomson, A., (2020). The Ties That Bind: Ethnicity, Pro-government Militia, and the Dynamics of Violence in Civil War. Journal of Conflict Resolution. 64 (5), 903-932



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