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Local peace and conflict

Local peace and conflict
People browse shops in Kirkuk bazaar in December 2005. Photo: Shutterstock.

This initiative focuses on the everyday as a way of understanding local manifestations of peace and conflict, which can be used to inform peacebuilding processes. At the heart of the ‘local turn’ in peace and conflict studies is the idea of making peacebuilding context-specific and tailoring it to local needs and cultures, which may be at odds with standardized policies and reporting promoted by the international peacebuilding system. Proponents of the ‘local turn’ argue that they must engage at the local level for peacebuilding efforts to be sustainable. It is here that structural obstacles to peace can be better identified and addressed. Locally focused peacebuilding can give rise to opportunities that would otherwise be missed, as peace does not necessarily mean the same thing at all levels. At the local level, people are more interested in going about their daily lives with minimal conflict, and when obstacles to achieving this are removed, relationships between groups can improve.

The MENA Programme’s local peace and conflict research currently focuses on Iraq. This involves examining the interaction between everyday peace and conflict at the local level in order to inform peacebuilding policy. SIPRI’s MENA Programme is also currently examining the impact that the Islamic State had on the cultural practices of minorities in northern Iraq with the aim of informing reconstruction efforts to help re-establish these everyday practices and to improve local peacebuilding between communities.

Research staff

Dr Dylan O’Driscoll is a Senior Researcher and Director of SIPRI’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme.
Shivan Fazil is a Researcher with the Middle East and North Africa Programme at SIPRI.
Amal Bourhrous is a Researcher with SIPRI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Meray Maddah is a Research Assistant in SIPRI’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.