The green and the cool: Hybridity, relationality and ethnographic-biographical responses to intervention

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Policy debates on conflict research, which are mostly directly used to develop practices of soft intervention (including conflict resolution, peacebuilding and statebuilding), emanate from common epistemic and ontological frameworks. Most have been produced and perpetuated by key institutions in the global North through their encounter with historical direct and structural violence, both North and South. Power has followed Enlightenment knowledge, along with its various biases and exclusions. Its progressive normative, political, economic and social assumptions about a ‘good society’ and an ‘international community’ have been fed through social science into the building of international institutions, IFIs and the donor system. Using a method called ethnographic biography (in which biography is broadly defined to include the bibliography produced by the subject, as well as interviews and discussions), this article illustrates how peace thinking is mutually constructed as both positive and hybrid, confirming earlier critical work. However, the research methods deployed to engage with the contextual production of knowledge by local scholar-practitioners are sorely underdeveloped. This is illustrated through an analysis of the work of ‘local’ conflict scholars on their own peacebuilding and statebuilding processes in Cyprus, Kosovo and Timor Leste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-500
Number of pages22
JournalMediterranean Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2018

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