"This is a superb book based on extensive fieldwork in a number of contexts. The most significant aspect of this book is that the author is not content to follow the herd and repeat well-worn truisms about peacebuilding. Instead, the book is packed with innovative ways of conceptualising the power and agency held by communities in fragile contexts. Rather than interview the 'usual suspects' of prominent NGOs, Kappler has gone beyond the obvious layers of postwar societies to connect with underlying views. The result is a deeply textured book for that stretches our thinking on peacebuilding and how local communities interact with it." - Roger Mac Ginty, University of Manchester, UK
"It is hard to imagine a more timely and sophisticated contribution to the peacebuilding literature than Stefanie Kappler's excellent analysis of local actors' experiences of peacebuilding in Bosnia, Cyprus and South Africa. This theoretically advanced and empirically insightful book offers a critical investigation into the complex interactions between actors and discursive spaces of peacebuilding while contributing to rethinking agency and power. Thus, it sheds light on the broad question of peacebuilding legitimacy, while gradually modifying how we understand peace on the ground." - Annika Björkdahl, Lund University, Sweden
While agency has become the new buzzword for researchers in the area of peace and conflict studies, it remains a concept that is both under-theorised and contested in terms of how it transforms the disciplines of Politics, International Relations and Peace and Conflict. In this book, Kappler develops a relational and spatial concept of agency, enhancing our understanding of the complex and subtle processes through which peacebuilding actors engage and interact with each other.
Using the EU's engagement in peacebuilding in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a primary case study, this book investigates outlines competing discourse clusters in the interplay between the EU and local actors engaged in creative cultural activities. An investigation of the contested nature of agency in its ability to give meaning to peacebuilding highlights the potential of local actors to impact upon and resist institutional discourses. Kappler also conveys the challenges of peacebuilding in Cyprus where there is a lack of connection between local and international discursive spaces, whilst the more limited depth of international intervention in South Africa in turn suggests a more flexible set of actors as well as more dynamic interaction in the emergence of peace-related discourses.
This book provides an original discussion of agency in relation to EU peacebuilding, exploring the subtle forms of interaction between actors and framing the analysis in ways that allow for practical application.
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