Prof. ErinMcCandless-1Erin McCandless is an Associate Professor in the School of Governance at Witwatersrand University in South Africa and a Research Associate with the German Development Institute.

A widely published scholar and policy advisor, she has near three decades of experience working on and in conflict affected settings, broadly on issues of peacebuilding, statebuilding, development and resilience – and their intersections. Professor McCandless is author of more than 100 publications, including several influential, policy-shifting United Nations reports, and she is a founder and former Chief Editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. Her current research is focused on forging resilient social contracts, and the role of social cohesion, in countries affected by conflict, fragility and fraught transition, building upon a multi-country research and policy dialogue project that she directed from 2015-2018.




  • (2011). Polarization and transformation in Zimbabwe: Social movements, strategy dilemmas and change. Maryland: Lexington Press & South Africa: University of Kwazulu-Natal Press.


Chapters in this book:



Journal Articles (accredited – SCOPUS, IBSS, WoS2021, DHET)


  • (forthcoming, 2021). Critical evolutions in the peacebuilding-development praxis nexus: Crisis and complexity, synergy and transformation. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development.



  • with Zahar, M.J. (2020).Sustaining peace one day at a time: Inclusion, transition crises, and the resilience of social contracts.Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. 14(1), 119–138.


  • (2019). Beyond liberal and local peacebuilding: Alternatives for addressing the complexity of conflict and fragility in Africa. Africa Insight. 49(3) December.


  • (2019). Forging resilient social contracts and sustaining peace: Summary of findings of new comparative research. JPD, 14(1), 90-95.


  • with Donais, T. (2017). International peace building and the emerging inclusivity norm. Third World Quarterly, 38(2), 291-310.


  • (2014). JPD: Fostering critical peacebuilding and development scholarship and action. Peace Review, 26(4).


  • (2013). Wicked problems in peacebuilding and statebuilding: Making progress in measuring progress through the new deal. Global Governance, 227-248.


  • with Tschirgi, N. (2010). Strategic frameworks that embrace mutual accountability for peacebuilding: Emerging lessons in PBC and non-PBC countries. (JPD) 7(2), 20-46.


  • with Christie, T. (2006). Natural resource governance, conservation and security: Evolving best practices in post-conflict Liberia. JPD, 3(2), 20-35.
  • (2000). Reconciling relationships while pursuing justice: The case of land redistribution in Zimbabwe. Peace & Change, 25(2), 225-238.


Book Chapters (peer reviewed)


  • Forthcoming: Supporting resilient social contracts in times of crisis: COVID-19 and building back better. Publisher: TBD. (Commissioned through Telkom-WSG collaborative research project).


  • with Schwoebel, M.H. (2021). Conflict-disaster nexus. In O. Richmond and G. Visoka G. (eds), Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, London: Palgrave.


  • (2020). Peacebuilding-development nexus. In O. Richmond and G. Visoka G. (eds), Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, London: Palgrave.


  • with Donais, T. (2020). Generations of Constructing Peace: The Constructivism Paradigm and Peacebuilding. In F. Carey (ed.) Peacebuilding paradigms: The impact of theoretical diversity on implementing sustainable peace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  • (2020). Peacebuilding. In C. Butcher and M.C. Hallward (eds.) Understanding international conflict management. London: Routledge.


  • (2016). Civil society and the 2030 agenda: forging a path to universal sustainable peace through policy formulation. In D. Cortright (ed.), Civil society, power and building peaceful and inclusive societies. Rowman and Littlefield Press.
  • (2010). The UN’s tripartite peace architecture amidst promises and challenges for sustaining peace: Galtung’s relevance a third of a century later. In Experiments with peace (invited contributor to a book for Johan Galtung’s 80th birthday). UK: Fahamu Books.


  • with Fukuda-Parr, S. (2008). An integrated framework for peacebuilding, development and human rights: Reflections on Liberia’s PRSP. In Peacebuilding in Liberia. London: Ashgate Press.


  • with Schwoebel, M.H. (2005). Peacemaking and peacebuilding. World at Risk: A Global Issue sourcebook. Washington, D.C: CQPress. Revised edition of From making to building peace in the 21st century: New approaches for new conflict contexts. In Global Almanac. Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2009.

IMPACT: This overall book was the 2002 Winner of “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2002 by Choice Magazine.


  • with Schwoebel, M.H. (2003). Towards a theory, method and practice of appreciative inquiry for use in complex peacebuilding and development contexts. In C. Sampson, M. Abu-Nimer, C. Liebler & Whitney (eds.), Positive approaches to peacebuilding: A resource for innovators. Washington, D.C.: Pact Publications


  • (2001). The case of land in Zimbabwe: Cause of conflict, foundation for sustained peace. In M. Abu-Nimer (ed). Reconciliation, justice and coexistence (209-234). Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 2001.




Government, IGO, NGO and Think Tank Policy Papers, Reports and Web-based Publications

(peer reviewed where noted)


  • (forthcoming). Social contracts: A pathway for more inclusive societies. A contribution to the Pathfinders grand challenge on inequality and exclusion. Pathfinders/NYU. Peer reviewed.


  • (forthcoming). The social contract-social cohesion relationship: Emerging evidence from Tunisia, Yemen, South Africa and Zimbabwe, Discussion paper. DIE Peer reviewed.





Longer version on Daily Maverick.











  • with Simpson, G. (2015). Assessing resilience for peacebuilding: A discussion document: Executive summary. Geneva: Interpeace. Peer reviewed. Available at



IMPACT: Findings infused within International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding position and influenced development of Ebola affected country national strategies.


  • with Nilaus-Tarp, K. (2014). Social services, peacebuilding & resilience: Evolving theory and practice in UNICEF and beyond. UNICEF, 2014. Peer reviewed.



  • with Nilaus-Tarp, K. (2014). Social services, peacebuilding and resilience programme guidance: Theories of change and indicators. UNICEF. Peer-reviewed.




  • Led the development of a series of advocacy and guidance notes on behalf of the CSO Platform on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (developed as the civil society interface platform with the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding/New Deal process), in my role as focal point on indicators and fragility assessments within this platform, which have included:
    • CSO Platform on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: Joint Submission to the Consultation on Shared Indicators, January 2013
    • Fulfilling New Deal Commitments: Recommendations from Civil Society on Maximizing Peacebuilding Results, August 2012







  • (2009, January). Web-based portal extensive analytical reviews of literature and practice, on Peacebuilding and Economic Recovery Strategies; Community Reintegration; Youth Employment and Empowerment; Natural Resources; Private Sector, Financial Management and Economic Governance. Peacebuilding Initiative, Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR), Harvard University & HPCR International. Peer reviewed. Available at



  • with Doe, S. (2006). Discussion document for UNMIL and the UNCT. In UNMIL Strengthening peacebuilding efforts in Liberia. Liberia: United Nations.


  • with Ero, C. (2006). Towards a United Nations strategy on the facilitation of political and ethnic reconciliation: Discussion document. Liberia: United Nations.


  • with Pajibo, E. (2003). Between perception and reality: Are NGOs really making a difference? Monograph for MWENGO, Harare, Zimbabwe: MWENGO. Peer reviewed.


  • Written anonymously with Le Bas, A. & Pajibo, E. (2003). Beyond a blocked transition: Prospects for nonviolent political change in Zimbabwe. United States Institute for Peace Special Report. ) Peer reviewed. Available at


  • with Pajibo, E. (2003). Can participation advance poverty reduction? PRSP process and content in five African countries. Harare, Zimbabwe: AFRODAD. Peer reviewed.


  • Written under pseudonym. (2002, March 20). Zimbabwe’s elections: Not free and fair by its own criteria – facts for policymakers and activists. ZNET, Africa Watch. Also, in NCA Agenda, July 2002.


  • Written under pseudonym. (2002, March 15). Workers under siege in the new Zimbabwe.


  • Written under pseudonym (2002). Narrowing the space for civic action: Zimbabwe’s parliament fast-tracking repressive legislation. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Newsletter.
  • with Bagu, C.,Oyedele, W., Gordon-Mensah, E., Osei, I., Charlick, R. (2001). West Africa: Civil society strengthening for conflict prevention study. Anglophone Civil Society Organization Assessment: Ghana and Nigeria Sythesis Report.
  • (1999). Engaging theory towards conflict transformation: The case of Northern Ireland. Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) Doctoral Student Publication. Virginia: ICAR.


  • with LeBaron, M.D. & Steven, G. (1998). Conflict and culture (2nd edition)., Virginia: ICAR.


  • (1999). Reconceptualizing self-determination: Prospects for peoples in a multinational world. Cantilevers, 6, 8-9.


  • Land tenure reform in Zimbabwe: Cause for conflict, foundation for sustained peace. Cantilevers, 4, 24-28.


  • (1997) Bridging reconciliation and justice in South Africa. Cantilevers, 3,19-23.


  • (1997) Leading the way? Candid words from the National Party, the Inkatha Freedom Party, and the African National Congress about reconciliation and the future of South Africa. Cantilevers, 3, 12-17.


  • (1996). Women in community and national struggles. Cantilevers, 2, 19-21.


  • (1996) Into the heart of Tibet: The survival of a people. Cantilevers, 2, 12-18.


  • with Abitbol, E. (1996). Reconciliation: Between Israelis and Palestinians?. Cantilevers, 1, 14-16.


  • with Abitbol, E. (1996). A day in Hebron/Al-Khalil. Cantilevers, 1, 8-11.


  • (1996). Indigenous and tribal peoples in the Asia/Pacific Region. MRG Urgent Issues Briefing Paper. London: Minority Rights Group (MRG).


  • (1996). Indigenous peoples: The definitional debate returns. The Outsider, N48:1. London: MRG.


  • (1996). Indigenous and tribal peoples in the Asia/Pacific Region. The Outsider, N47:4-5, London: MRG.

Journal Editorials (DHET accredited Journal of Peacebuilding and Development)


  • (2017). Peacebuilding approaches to addressing violent extremism. JPD, 12(2).


  • with Abitbol, E. & Donais, T. (2015). Vertical integration: A dynamic practice promoting transformative peacebuilding. JPD, 10(1), 1-9.


  • (2014). Revitalising our tools to better engage local contexts and measure and promote peace. JPD, 9(1), 1-2.


  • with Rogan, J. (2013). Bringing peace closer to the people: The role of social services in peacebuilding. JPD, 8(3), 1-6.


  • (2014). Revitalising our tools to better engage local contexts and measure and promote peace. JPD, 9(1), 1-2.


  • with Bush, K., D., C & Abu-Nimer, M. (2013). Evaluation in violently divided societies: Politics, ethics, methods. JPD, 8(2), 1-4.


  • with Tongeren, P.V., Ojielo, O. & Brand-Jacobsen, K. (2013). The evolving landscape of infrastructures for peace. JPD, 7(3), 1-7.


  • With Tschirgi, N. (2012). Hybridity and Policy Engagement. JPD, 7(2), 1-2.
  • with M. Abu-Nimer, A. (2012). JPD in transition: Critical reflections on the state of our field. JPD, 7(1), 1-6.
  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2012). Cooperation for reconstruction, peace and transformation in Haiti: Critical reflections to advance aid effectiveness. JPD, 6(3), 1-2.
  • with Huda, Q., Abu-Nimer, M. & Qader, A. (2011). Islam, peacebuilding and development. JPD, 6(1), 1-5.


  • with Scully, P. & Abu-Nimer, M. (year of publication missing). Gender violence and gender justice. JPD, 5(3), 3-6.


  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2009). Peace operations and development interventions: Expanding the focus on context, politics, participation and transparency. JPD, 5(1), 1-7.


  • with Wyeth, V. (2008). Seeking the forest through the trees: Institutional arrangements and tools for peacebuilding. JPD, 4(2), 1-6.


  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2008). Back to basics: Reassessing our analytical models and strategies to strengthen peacebuilding in Africa. JPD, 4(1), 1-5.


  • with M. Abu-Nimer, M. (2007). Security for people? The role of SSR in sustaining peace. JPD, 3(2), 1-6.


  • with Borel, R. & Abu-Nimer, M. (2006). Environment and natural resource related conflicts: Moving towards transformational approaches. JPD, 3(1), 1-5.


  • with M. Abu-Nimer, M. (2006). National ownership in security, peacebuilding and development: Grassroots activism, institution building and policymaking. JPD, 2(3), 1-6.


  • with Paffenholz, T. & Abu-Nimer, M. (2005). Peacebuilding and development: Integrated approaches to evaluation. JPD, 2(2), 1-5.


  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2004). Building socially accountable peace and development in Africa. JPD, 2(1), 1-5.


  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2004). Peacebuilding and development: Interventions, perceptions and practices. JPD, 1(3).


  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2003). Mapping strategic linkages: Development in peace processes. JPD, 1(1), 1-4.
  • with Abu-Nimer, M. (2002). Peacebuilding and development: The birth of a new journal. JPD, 1(1).