Dr Christina Steenkamp has a background in Political Science and International Relations. She is a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, where she teaches Peace and Conflict studies. She has published widely on topics related to conflict, peacebuilding and violence and has carried out extensive qualitative fieldwork in South Africa, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. She is currently writing her third book, this time on the relationship between organised crime and peacebuilding in the Middle East. Originally from South Africa, she now lives in Oxford, with her husband, three young sons and two guinea pigs.
Crossing boundaries: An interdisciplinary collaboration on drug addiction and violent conflict in the Middle East
This presentation reflects on recent research projects involving interdisciplinary collaboration between the disciplines of Peace and Conflict Studies and Social Pharmacy. The presentation starts by introducing two such projects which involved research into drug misuse and abuse in the Middle East and its links to organised crime and violent conflict. The focus is on the challenges of designing and conducting interdisciplinary research and applying it to a (for the speaker) novel cultural context. In the first part, the presentation will address various ways in which the interdisciplinary nature of the research was both challenging and rewarding, including by being attractive to funders, by enhancing the experience and exposure of the researchers, the challenges of overcoming methodological and epistemological differences and the different practices of managing research assistants. The second aim of the presentations is to unpack the cultural considerations of the projects, including considering the gender dynamics associated with two women carrying out research in patriarchal societies and reflecting on the power dynamics between the researchers. The presentation is intended to be of interest to other researchers who are considering transcending both their academic disciplines and cultural contexts in their understanding of drug addiction.