Peacebuilding and resistance: inequality, empowerment, refusal

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The institutionalization and international streamlining of what is called ‘peacebuilding’ often obscures our view of what peace actually means for a society affected by different forms of violence and how that peace can be built. This chapter argues for a broader understanding of peacebuilding, not as an outside intervention but something growing from within and as a long-term process directed towards the resolution of structural violence often underlying physical outbreaks of violence. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research in Indonesia, the chapter critically reflects on local peace processes and ensuing resistance movements against broader issues of social injustice. Picking up Ortner’s concept of ‘ethnographic refusal’ (1995), it investigates the various dimensions and strategies of ‘refusal’ in these transformation processes. It looks at refusal of local complexity implied in international peace interventions, but it also examines local peacebuilding and resistance to outside intervention and emerging inequalities based on a strategic refusal of diversity and internal conflict. Analysing the diverging strategies of refusal among different stakeholder groups sheds light on the complex entanglements of cultural essentialization and power politics in mainstream international peacebuilding, grassroots reconciliation and local resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Requiem for Peacebuilding?
EditorsJorg Kustermans, Tom Sauer, Barbara Segaert
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030564773
ISBN (Print)9783030564766
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameRethinking Peace and Conflict Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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