Winner of the 2020 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year
Bringing armed conflicts to an end is difficult; restoring a lasting peace can be considerably harder. Reclaiming Everyday Peace addresses the effectiveness and impact of local level interventions on communities affected by war. Using an innovative methodology to generate participatory numbers, Pamina Firchow finds that communities saturated with external interventions after war do not have substantive higher levels of peacefulness according to community-defined indicators of peace than those with lower levels of interventions. These findings suggest that current international peacebuilding efforts are not very effective at achieving peace by local standards because disproportionate attention is paid to reconstruction, governance and development assistance with little attention paid to community ties and healing. Firchow argues that a more bottom up approach to measuring the effectiveness of peacebuilding is required. By finding ways to effectively communicate local community needs and priorities to the international community, efforts to create an atmosphere for an enduring peace are possible.
‘People in conflict zones need their voices to be heard. Firchow provides a new and useful methodology for hearing people’s voices in conflict-ridden areas of the world, and then using those voices as input into policy evaluation. This book will prove invaluable to researchers, policy-makers, and policy evaluators working to resolve violent conflicts around the world.’ Gary Goertz, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
‘In this seminal book, Pamina Firchow provides much-needed rigor to the challenge of understanding peace from below. In a path-breaking analysis of what local people affected by armed conflict identify as the priorities of peace building, she sets a new agenda for researching local standards and identifying bottom-up indicators of peace.’ Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, Tufts University, Massachusetts
‘Reclaiming Everyday Peace develops a new approach to measuring conflict resolution – based on local perceptions and priorities instead of external ideas and values. Scholars will appreciate Pamina Firchow’s original, novel, and counter-intuitive findings, such as the fact that communities that experience more intervention feel less secure. I also hope that policy-makers and practitioners will heed her call to use everyday indicators of peace during the design, implementation, and evaluation of conflict-resolution initiatives, as this would help address many of the issues that peacebuilders usually face.’ Severine Autesserre, author of Peaceland and The Trouble With the Congo