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Article

Re-thinking Peacebuilding

From Universal Models to Mundane Peace

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2013
Keywords peace and conflict research, culture, peacebuilding, democracy, truth speaking
Authors Tarja Väyrynen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article re-theorizes peacebuilding through the critique of the universalizing tendencies prominent in peace and conflict research. The critique is targeted both at the medical analogy and liberal peace theory which epitomize universalism in their own ways. By presenting a case study on a seemingly insignificant, minor and mundane event and person, a Finnish woman Kaisu, the article seeks to demonstrate the usefulness of cultural understanding of peacebuilding and the ethnographic fieldwork methods which open up interesting research questions for the research field. It is shown how peacebuilding is about politics that is ‘not yet’. During peacebuilding society needs to face its troubled past with its full complexity and create a space for constant struggle that does not seek consensus, but rather engages the society in agonistic politics and democracy. Ultimately, the article suggests that the agency of parrhestiastes, truth-speaker, opens up a necessary space for post-conflict peacebuilding as it reveals the fragmented nature of the national self.


Tarja Väyrynen
Tarja Väyrynen has theorized conflict and conflict resolution (e.g. Culture and International Conflict Resolution, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2001; “A Shared Understanding: Gadamer and International Conflict Resolution”, Journal of Peace Research, 42(3): 349-357, 2005). Her most recent work deals with war, peacebuilding, gender, corporeality, collective trauma and post-conflict silences. She is Academy Research Fellow in the School for Social Sciences and Humanities and the director of Research Group on Corporeality, Politics and Migration (COMPORE), University of Tampere, Finland. She worked as the Director and Professor in Tampere Peace Research Institute for eight years before taking up the Academy post in 2008.
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