The frequent failure of international peace missions and the ‘crisis of the liberal peace’ led to the promotion of a local or cultural turn in peace research and work that focuses on the role and meaning of culture, local actors and a mostly unspecified ‘local’ for peacebuilding processes. This pushes peace and conflict studies to engage with the subject area of anthropological research, which poses a challenge for disciplines such as political and legal sciences. In contrast to the critiques of the critique of the liberal peace, which seem to have led to a circular debate, this special section aims to take the debate to the next step. It does so through anthropologically informed methodological and conceptual advancements that the local turn is asking for and by providing a better understanding of how the local can become an important reference point in peace and conflict studies without essentialising it. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the contributions to this special section highlight the importance of ethnographic research and anthropological framing in analysing the ambivalence of the local in peacebuilding and the contributions anthropology can make to the interdisciplinary field of conflict and peace studies.
- local turn
- critique of liberal peace
- ethnographic research
- anthropological peace research
- peace and conflict studies