The workshop invites papers that address the challenges and different meanings of ownership in peace-building processes, either based on empirical field research in individual (post-)conflict settings or on a more theoretical level: What can anthropological research contribute to these issues?
The meaning(s) of local ownership in and for sustainable peace-building For several years already, academic literature and policy reports on peace-building processes have been emphasizing that local ownership is essential to create sustainable peace in conflict-torn societies. While this makes perfect sense in the abstract, it seems less clear how 'the local' could be conceptualised in practice and who exactly should be addressed in this frame: Peace-building involves complex transformation processes that involve the agency of 'local' and of external actors on various levels. It affects social, political, cultural and economic institutions and relationships that are rarely equally represented in the decision-making activities that shape peace-building processes. Moreover, there is rarely consensus on notions of conflict, justice, peace and sustainability, neither on the 'local' level, nor between the local and the national or international outside. International actors, or better actors from outside the conflict parties, often have a crucial function in assisting and monitoring peace-building initiatives. And yet, how can they decide who should be regarded as the legitimate representatives of certain realms on the ground? This dilemma asks for strategies that take into consideration how and why perceptions, needs, and capabilities differ between the various stakeholders for investing what the collective aims would require. What can anthropological research contribute to these complex issues? The workshop invites papers that address the challenges and meanings of ownership questions in individual conflict environments, based on empirical field research or else on a more theoretical level.