Violence in Peace Processes

Even after the formal termination of a violent conflict and during the course of establishing a regime for peace, phenomena of violence persist and new structures and forms of violence emerge; a new regime of violence arises in this transition. In post-conflict contexts, there is a special need to renegotiate the justifications for and authority to use (state and non-state) violence. These negotiation processes are frequently associated with new acts of violence, because different actors either oppose the new social order or they use violence to assert alternative models of society.

Relying on empirical and ethnological fieldwork, this research project will focus on investigating structures of violence that have appeared during peace processes in North Ireland and Sri Lanka. How does violence modulate transformation processes on different levels of society in a postwar period?

The project will analyze interaction between the macro and micro levels of society based on different endemic orders in institutions, in grassroots organizations such as citizens’ fora, and in local communities. First and foremost, the project will describe the principles, policies, and regulatory compliance of supranational agencies, networks, and structures on the macro level that contribute to the implementation of a liberal peace regime. Their schemes interact with the ability of local actors, networks, and structures on the micro level to establish alternative concepts or to ignore, reject, justify, or reformulate outside interventions.

The focus of the project’s investigation will be on different forms of resistance against or conformity with directives "from above" as well as on daily routines characterized by the threat(s) of violence.

The assumption that incentives, support, and narratives for the use of violence are present on all levels of society—whether (inter)national, regional, or local—opens up a theoretical perspective in which violence—specifically its complex relationship between structural conditions in society and social practices—will be discussed.