New journal article on peacebuilding and anthropology

Nikolas Kosmatopolous and I are very happy that our special section on anthropology and peacebuilding will be published in the forthcoming issue of Peacebuilding.

We contributed a very short article
Anthropology and peacebuilding: an introduction (pre-print ungated version on to the collection stating that

Peacebuilding presents a formidable challenge to anthropology, because it “enframes” our contemporary world in particular ways. In our introduction to the special section on peacebuilding and anthropology we highlight the changing relationship between peace, conflict, culture and academic writing and how the three articles on Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and India-Pakistan address the changing relationships.
The articles do not have the intention to present a coherent statement where anthropology “is” in relation to peace and conflict studies. Each of them engages with a different aspect of the discipline and broader question beyond ethnographic fieldwork.
The actual research articles of the collection are really interesting: Andrew Finlay’s article Liberal intervention, anthropology and the ethnicity machine puts forward a critique of critical interventionists’ arguments around 'more anthropologists are needed' and their role translators of international culture and good governance in Northern Ireland.

Stefan Schuette's contribution Peacebuilding and Pasture relations in Afghanistan shares important insights into local peacebuilding and agricultural development activities in rural Afghanistan that are informed by traditional qualitative research, confirming the value of critical observations, local knowledge and in-depth engagement with 'the field'; his findings are yet another example of the failing of the reconstruction effort is also a failure to listen and to accept local, seemingly imperfect, but workable solutions that have positive impacts on daily lives and livelihoods.

The reflective stance in anthropology is another possibility to address the tenuous relationship between anthropology and peacebuilding. Elizabeth Dauphinee's article
Narrative Voice and the Limits of Peacebuilding: Rethinking the Politics of Partiality breaks with traditional academic writing rituals to present a contribution informed by auto-ethnographic, archaeological and historical vignettes as well as literary fiction as an important part of her analysis. Her analysis of the data adds further to recent literature on challenging peacebuilding discourses with qualitative methodologies.

I have to thank all the contributors once again for their patience in making this special section a reality and I am very proud that Nikolas and I played a small part in the publication process!

Tobias Denskus and Nikolas Kosmatopolous (2015): Anthropology and peacebuilding: an introduction, Peacebuilding, Vol. 3, No. 3


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