Local Peacebuilding after Communal Violence

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This chapter aims to take an anthropologically informed look into local conflict
dynamics and local negotiation processes aimed at the restoration of social
relations and the reintegration of society after mass violence. It analyzes local
processes of peacebuilding taking place independent of international interventions and how local actors inventively adapt local traditions to the requirements of
a post-conflict society, thus challenging predominant notions of liberal peace. The
chapter builds on current anthropological notions of culture, ethnicity, and tradition and argues that ethnographic research of contemporary local approaches to
peace needs to be contextualized in broader history and power politics. The
argument derives from multi-sited and multi-temporal ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Maluku, an archipelago in Eastern Indonesia, for more than a
decade and highlights the importance of culture and tradition for the restoration
of sustainable peace in a society that has been torn apart by an alleged religious
war. The response to the long-lasting violence was to activate an overarching
ethnic identity to rebuild bridges and restore peace. These efforts are analyzed
against the backdrop of changing sociopolitical developments in which group
boundaries shift and ethnic and religious identity markers change meanings or
merge. The chapter thus also argues against the stereotypification of violent
religion and harmonious tradition as both religion and ethnicity are aspects of
the same social dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity
EditorsSteven Ratuva
Place of PublicationGateway East Singapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789811328985
ISBN (Print)9789811328978
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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