Book: Reclaiming Everyday Peace

Reclaiming Everyday Peace

Reclaiming Everyday Peace: Local Voices in the Politics of Measurement and Evaluation after War. (2018). Cambridge University Press.

Winner of the 2020 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year  

Book Review by Alex Bellamy in ACUNS

Book Review by Richard Kaplan in International Peacekeeping

Book Review by Naazneen Barma in Perspectives on Politics

Video Presentation for CRS Award

En español abajo

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.

Advance praise:

‘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

51dP8PDXPzLRecuperando la Paz Cotidiana: Voces locales para la medición y evaluación después de la guerra. (2020). Editorial Universidad del Rosario.

Terminar los conflictos armados es difícil; restaurar una paz duradera puede ser considerablemente más difícil aún. Recuperando la Paz Cotidiana aborda la efectividad y el impacto de las intervenciones a nivel local en las comunidades afectadas por la guerra. Utilizando una metodología innovadora para generar iniciativas participativas, Pamina Firchow encuentra que las comunidades saturadas por intervenciones externas después de la guerra no ostentan niveles sustancialmente mayores de paz de acuerdo con indicadores de paz definidos por las comunidades mismas, que aquellas con menores niveles de intervención. Estos hallazgos sugieren que las iniciativas de construcción de paz internacionales no son muy efectivas en alcanzar la paz según estándares locales porque se presta una atención desproporcionada a la reconstrucción, gobernanza, y asistencia para el desarrollo mientras se presta muy poca atención a los lazos comunitarios y a la sanación. Firchow sostiene que se requiere un abordaje más abajo-arriba para medir la efectividad de la construcción de paz. Encontrando formas de comunicar efectivamente las necesidades y prioridades de las comunidades locales a la comunidad internacional, las iniciativas destinadas a crear una atmósfera para una paz duradera se hacen posibles.