Sebastian van Baalen

Associate senior lecturer/Assistant Professor at Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Visiting address:
Gamla Torget 3, 1tr
753 20 Uppsala
Postal address:
Box 514
751 20 UPPSALA

Short presentation

Sebastian van Baalen is an assistant professor focusing on the dynamics of violence and governance in civil war, electoral violence, nonviolent action, and postwar violence. He received his PhD in 2021 for his dissertation “Guns and Governance: Local Elites and Rebel Governance in Côte d’Ivoire.” He currently works on several projects, and uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, with experience working in Côte d'Ivoire. Previously, he worked as a freelance journalist.


  • fieldwork
  • ivory coast
  • legacies of civil war
  • postwar violence
  • rebel governance
  • south africa


  • PhD in Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University (2021)
  • MSSc in Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University (2015)
  • BA in Political Science, Uppsala University (2013). Minored in Peace and Conflict Research and Philosophy.
  • Exchange studies at Stellenbosch University, South Africa (2012).
  • Assistant editor-in-chief at Mänsklig Säkerhet (2015–2016)


Sebastian is currently conducting research within the following two research projects, all at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research:

  1. Crossing the Rubicon: The Dynamics of Restraint in Civil War
  2. Alliances of Anarchy: Actor Constellations and Patterns of Electoral Violence

Dissertation project (completed 2021)

Why is rebel governance more responsive to the interests of the civilian population in some localities than in others? Sebastian's dissertation project explores the role of civilian agency in accounting for variation in the responsiveness of rebel governance, focusing primarily on the case of Côte d'Ivoire. The project focuses on how the socioeconomic organization of local elites influences civilian bargaining leverage in negotiations over rebel governance, employing a combination of qualitative case analysis, fieldwork, and quantitative methods.

Working papers are available on my personal website.

Blog Posts, Op-Eds and Popular Science Articles

Sebastian van Baalen, 2022. How civilians can make rebels more responsive. Policy Note. Gothenburg: The Program on Governance and Local Development at the University of Gothenburg, 2/5 2022.

Isak Svensson & Sebastian van Baalen, 2022. Can nonviolent civil resistance stop Putin? Political Violence @ a Glance. 11/3 2022.

Isak Svensson & Sebastian van Baalen, 2022. Ickevåldsmotståndet som utmanar Putin. Utrikesmagasinet, 9/3 2022.

Jesper Bjarnesen & Sebastian van Baalen, 2020. Risk för våld vid ifrågasatt val. Gobal Bar Magazine, 28/10 2020.

Jesper Bjarnesen & Sebastian van Baalen, 2020. The making of a dinosaur? Côte d’Ivoire’s 2020 elections. Democracy in Africa, 22/10 2020.

Sebastian van Baalen & Jesper Bjarnesen, 2020. Will Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election turn violent? Political Violence @ a Glance, 15/10 2020.

Malin Mobjörk & Sebastian van Baalen, 2018. The nuts and bolts of a climate-conflict link in East Africa. New Security Beat, 19/3 2018.

Sebastian van Baalen, 2017. Politisk maktkamp hotar freden i Elfenbenskusten. Utrikesmagasinet, 15/12 2017.

Johan Brosché, Kristine Höglund & Sebastian van Baalen, 2017. Jasaffären i Botswana strider mot Sveriges mål. Svenska Dagbladet, 23/3 2017. Updated and republished in Mänsklig säkerhet, 20/6 2017.

Sebastian van Baalen, 2016. Underskatta inte IS administrativa makt. Mänsklig Säkerhet, 25/10 2016.

Sebastian van Baalen & Malin Mobjörk, April 2016. Climate change and violent conflict in East Africa – implications for policy. Policy brief. Stockholm: Stockholm University, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs & Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Malin Mobjörk, Sebastian van Baalen, Niklas Bremberg, Lisa Maria Dellmuth, Maria-Therese Gustafsson & Hannes Sonnsjö, November 2015. The role of multilateral organisations in addressing climate change and its security risks. Policy brief. Stockholm: Stockholm University, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs & Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Sebastian van Baalen, 2015. ”Debatt: Ett välkomnande flyktingmottagande värnar allas säkerhet”, Tranås Posten 18/11 2015.

Sebastian van Baalen, 2015. "Sydafrikas moraliska förfall", Mänsklig Säkerhet 2/11 2015.

Sebastian van Baalen 2015. "Fredsarbete måste se till relationen mellan det lokala och nationella", Mänsklig Säkerhet 16/6 2015


Personal website

My personal website


Selection of publications

Recent publications

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Sebastian van Baalen