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Local Peacebuilding – challenges and opportunities

128 pages, pdf
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Local Peacebuilding – challenges and opportunities

Publisher: Joakim Öjendal, Hanna Leonardsson and Martin Lundqvist

Volume: 128 pages, pdf


This study focuses on whether, and if so, how, a ‘local turn’ of peacebuilding practices may or may not have a positive impact on the quality of peacebuilding interventions. 2 It takes in a substantial part of the overwhelming critique directed towards the last two decades of peacebuilding and interventions in the name of peace, often carried out under the banner of liberal peace. Liberal peace emphasises democratic values, good governance and market liberalisation, but is criticised for pursuing excessive interventionism, harbouring unrealistic expectations, and even for resembling neo-colonialism.

As such, the intellectual material underpinning ‘the local turn of peacebuilding’ is a solid body of criticism of what is portrayed as the too centralised, too structural, too distant, too ideological, and too mechanical approach to reconstruction and the building of peace. As a result of the research all the authors of this report have conducted independently, we tend to agree with the critical views commonly aired in the researcher community. However, we also harbour a certain respect for the complexities and challenges of pursuing a more locally based peacebuilding strategy in practice (cf. Lundquist 2015; Leonardsson & Rudd 2015; Öjendal 2015; 2013).

The aim of the study is threefold: firstly, we will make an inventory of the critical literature (which is largely theoretical); secondly, we will review how local aspects of peacebuilding have been pursued (and not been pursued); and, thirdly, we will establish the impact of a local approach on the overall outcome of peacebuilding and how/to what extent this can be generalised.