The aim of this one-day conference is to examine how sociological theories and models can be used to better comprehend grey zone conflict. Whether using cyber, diplomatic relations, trade or foreign investment, grey zone tactics sit ambiguously between the statecraft traditionally practiced during times of war and peace. Grey zone conflict can involve the actions by governments and national militaries or the co-option and utilisation of industry, para-military groups, and civil society organisations. Sociological insight is significant for comprehending grey zone contestation as its success largely rests on the dynamics of social influence and how this is shaped by social solidarity, societal division, and cultural resilience. While grey zone aggression aims to create social and political disruption below the threshold that would initiate and legitimate military action, how national and supranational actors respond is contingent on societal narratives of risk and civil military relations. 

Topics to be considered might include, but are not limited to: 

  • Relationship between social isolation, social marginalisation and social influence 
  • Sociological theorising of social influence related to the grey zone 
  • Information warfare as it relates to the dynamics of the civil sphere 
  • Civil military relations in the context of information warfare 
  • Countering coercive influence campaigns and deescalating grey zone conflict 
  • Disinformation campaign effects on social cohesion 
  • Grey zone challenges as they differ across societies 
  • Populations vulnerable to coercive social influence

To attend the conference please submit your name and reason for interest by 10 May to