The current debate on agenda-setting provides two explanations for why new issues such as immigration or abortion are politicized in Western democracies. Some argue that new issues are driven by new conflict lines in the electorate; others claim these issues garner political attention by being easily integrated into existing conflict lines or cleavages. Speaking as part of the CIS Colloquium series at ETH Zurich last Wednesday, Christoffer Green-Pedersen positioned himself in the second camp.
It seems paradoxical to regularly hear of “neglected” or “forgotten” conflicts. Jan Egeland, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, described the war in Northern Uganda as the “biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency” in 2003. Our partners, such as the International Crisis Group, write about Congo’s forgotten Katanga crisis or Pakistan’s forgotten Balochistan conflict. And Forgotten Diaries, a multiple- award- winning project, has been exclusively covering forgotten conflicts since 2008. When policy makers, the media, and researchers talk about forgotten conflicts again and again, can we really call them forgotten?