Ethnographic Peace Research: Strengths, Challenges, and Ethics

While Peace Research (PR) has always incorporated different methodological approaches, large-N studies of state-level effects have driven the policy and practice of peace intervention. Above and beyond the influence of other contributing disciplines – such as anthropology, economics, history, law, psychology, or sociology – International Relations (IR) and its dominant quantitative wing have influenced the national and supra-national policies which guide peace-making, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. However, today the many shortcomings of post-Cold War peace interventions are recognized as associated in many ways with the state-centric, institutional, and top-down nature of such interventions. The lack of ownership of and local “buy-in” to the institutions and practices central to peace intervention at regional, national, and local levels are identified as critical problems with current policy and even IR scholars have turned their attention to the study of agency, the everyday, emancipation, resistance, hybridity, and friction, in what has been called the “local-turn.”

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