As has been thoroughly rehearsed in the literature, the failures of the liberal peace model of post-conflict intervention have given rise to a ‘local turn’ in peace research. This in turn has refocused attention away from the motivations and practices of international actors towards local ownership and ‘buy-in’, and the importance of culture, context, and ‘the Everyday’. There is a mismatch, however, between the methodological skills among peace researchers today, and the new imperative to explore local and everyday understandings, perceptions, and experiences of conflict, transition, and peace. For this reason a number of scholars have recently emphasized the importance of incorporating ethnographic methods and an anthropological imagination into peace research. However, at this point, and as evidenced in the contributions to this special issue, there are many challenges to such incorporation which must be acknowledge and addressed if the ethnographic approach is to fulfil its early promise to add empirical substance to the local turn. The contributing authors each address different challenges to conducting Ethnographic Peace Research (EPR) in post-conflict contexts and, as this introduction argues, they evidence clearly the variety of questions yet to be answered while suggesting different ways ethnographic approaches can be incorporated into peace research.
- Peace Research