- 1 Introduction by Deborah Avant, University of Denver
- 2 Review by Susanna Campbell, American University
- 3 Review by Marina E. Henke, the Hertie Center for International Security
- 4 Review by Sabrina Karim, Cornell University
- 5 Review by Maria Martin de Almagro, University of Ghent
- 6 Response by Séverine Autesserre, Barnard College, Columbia University
Promoting peace is something everyone endorses – from the United Nations to rich foundations to idealistic schoolchildren. But what is peace? How does it unfold? How can those who want to promote it help? In a book that is more revolutionary than its straightforward language belies, Séverine Autesserre wants to change how we answer each of these questions.
H-Diplo | ISSF Roundtable 14-2
Séverine Autesserre. The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World. Oxford University Press, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197530351.001.0001
21 October 2022 | https://issforum.org/to/ir14-2
Editor: Diane Labrosse | Commissioning Editor: Danielle Lupton | Production Editor: Christopher Ball
Promoting peace is something everyone endorses – from the United Nations to rich foundations to idealistic schoolchildren. But what is peace? How does it unfold? How can those who want to promote it help? In a book that is more revolutionary than its straightforward language belies, Séverine Autesserre wants to change how we answer each of these questions.
Peace, for Autesserre absolutely means processes that reduce the prospect for war. So, the word encompasses the kind of negative peace that has dominated security studies for a long time. But it means more than just the absence of war, it includes hope. Her story of Luca wanting to “hold a pencil instead of a gun,” (11-17) in the introduction is emblematic.
Luca was abducted to be a child soldier, held for 3 years, and then returned to his home but drifted again and again into violence. Only after Vijaya, then a graduate student, helped launch a locally inspired public works and development project did the local context begin to change. Over the course of this change, which led to more farming and other productive activities, Luca and his friends began to make plans, including for their education. Speaking with Vijaya, Autesserre says, “…so I asked her what she meant, and how she knew she was succeeding. She told me it was Luca: At 13, for the first time in his life, he was speaking in the future tense” (14-15). This development did not lead to anywhere near a “perfect” situation – the project was set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where conflict is still ongoing. But it created a local pocket where demobilized child soldiers (and many others) had options.
The peace Autesserre narrates throughout the book could be described as ‘good enough’ peace. There is discrimination against Pygmies in Idjwi and against women in Somaliland. Peace means less violence and the prospect for a better life but no guarantees. She gets to this definition not by deducing it from principles or consulting an arbitrary count of deaths, but by asking those involved. The answers she receives vary; what is good enough is different from place to place. Not everyone will be satisfied with this definition, as Maria Martin de Amalgro’s review below makes clear. It may be, though, that good enough peace is the most we can hope for.
How this peace unfolds is similarly varied. Autesserre argues that it must take account of the histories, cultures, and experiences of those involved. What works in Idjwi may not in Kabul. The lesson that stands out is that it is hard to get to peace without grassroots action and local successes. This resonates with other analyses of how the dynamics of conflict are affected by religious leaders, businesses, and local leaders, formal and informal, but exactly how this happens depends. As frustrating as it is to scholars who are used to positivist standards, there is no flow chart, no set of variables that, if they take the right value, can lock peace into place. Sabrina Karim thus wants to take Autesserre’s narratives to create testable propositions. And Marina Henke finds flaw in Autesserre’s ideas about the connections between local, national, and international dynamics, which are not entirely spelled out.
Autesserre’s advice to those who want to help promote peace – including the Peace, Inc. practitioners she criticizes here and in her other books – also begins with local actors. Interestingly, even her claim that interventions can sometimes be useful comes not from her intuition but from locals who told her that they both need and want outside help. To move toward peace, though, intervenors should not be in charge and should not be in a hurry. They should listen to locals. Interacting in this way can, as many pragmatists and network theorists have pointed out in other arenas, generate innovation, hope, and creative change.
Along with their critiques, Susanna Campbell, Henke, Karim, and Martin de Amalgro mete out well deserved praise to Autesserre for her book’s accessible language and focus on instances of success rather than failure. What I think makes this book most revolutionary, though, is its pushback – not only on the idea of one-size-fits-all peacebuilders, but on social scientists who, in the quest for general lessons, clear definitions, and greater justice, often ignore the inherent ambiguities in the human subjects they study. One implication of her analysis is that we need to make more space for ‘good enough’ social science and studies that prize descriptions that “follow the actors,” embrace the particulars, and recognize that nothing human will ever be without flaws. Long embraced in anthropology, there is a growing awareness among those using relational ontology in sociology and political science that there are real limits to what we can “nail down.”
While Autesserre does not engage this debate explicitly, she provides a noteworthy example of how good analysis can be if the research strategy is to listen and the aim is to write descriptions that resonate with the locals involved. Her explanations of what happened in Idjwi, Somaliland, San José de Apartadó, Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom, and Chicago map a variety to paths that may hold lessons that are useful to others but only if they are adapted to meet the needs of the actors involved. As you will read below, not all of the reviewers agree that this is the most useful approach, but even as they push for greater clarity, testability, and attention to justice, they all agree on the value of what Autesserre has written.
Autesserre admits that making room for what I have called ‘good enough’ peace, social science, and peacebuilding is not without its flaws. As she notes, no intervention (or study, I might add) is without dilemmas. Action that is most conducive to peace may conflict with pushing for social justice. There is no set answer for how to manage this dilemma, but scholars and peacebuilders should recognize and attend to it. I join Susanna Campbell in hoping that the takeaway from the book is not to shy away from action because of these tensions but to “humbly engage” in understanding peace, building peace, and studying these efforts by listening to those on the frontlines.
Séverine Autesserre is a Professor and Chair of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of The Frontlines of Peace (Oxford University Press, 2021), Peaceland (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and The Trouble with the Congo (Cambridge University Press, 2010), in addition to articles for publications such as International Organization, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs. Autesserre has been involved intimately in the world of international aid for more than twenty years. She has worked for Doctors Without Borders in places like Afghanistan and Congo, and at the United Nations headquarters in the United States. Her subsequent research has helped shape the intervention strategies of several United Nations departments, foreign affairs ministries, and non-governmental organizations, as well as numerous philanthropists and activists. She has also been a featured speaker at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the United Nations Security Council. For more information and updates on her work, please visit her website www.severineautesserre.com.
Deborah Avant is Distinguished University Professor and Sié Chéou-Kang Chair at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. She is author/editor of Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence in Conflicts (with Sié Center colleagues; New York: Oxford University Press 2019); The New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance (with Oliver Westerwinter; New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Who Governs the Globe? (with Martha Finnemore and Susan Sell; Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2010), The Market for Force: the Consequences of Privatizing Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); and Political Institutions and Military Change: Lessons From Peripheral Wars(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), along with articles in such journals as International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Security Studies, Perspectives on Politics, International Studies Review, and Foreign Policy. She has conducted wide-ranging research and field work around relations among companies, communities, and governments and their impact on governance. Dr. Avant is also an advisor to the Planetary Politics initiative at New America and president of the International Studies Association.
Susanna P Campbell is an Assistant Professor at the School of International Service and the Director of the Research on International Policy Implementation Lab (RIPIL) at American University. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in conflict-affected countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Sudan, South Sudan, and East Timor – supported by awards from the US National Science Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, and others. Her related publications include: Global Governance and Local Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2018); articles published in International Studies Review, International Peacekeeping, Journal of Global Security Studies, Journal of Politics, and Political Research Quarterly; and a new book manuscript on aid to conflict-affected countries. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the United Nations, International Crisis Group, and the Council on Foreign Relations and recently served as a senior advisor for the Congressional Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States.
Marina E Henke is Professor of International Relations at the Hertie School and Director of the Hertie Centre for International Security. She researches and publishes on military interventions, peacekeeping, nuclear security and European security and defense policy.
Sabrina Karim is the Hardis Family Assistant Professor in Government at Cornell University. She also directs of the Gender and Security Sector Lab. Her research focuses on peacekeeping, post-conflict state building, police reform, and gender. She is the co-author of the award-winning book, Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace, and Security in Post-Conflict States (Oxford University Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, International Organization, the British Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Peace Research, among others. She received her Ph.D. from Emory University in 2016.
Maria Martin de Almagro is Assistant Professor at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Her research focuses on the production of knowledge and international policies and practices in gender and peacebuilding. She has conducted extensive research in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is rare to read a book that is as well written as The Frontlines of Peace. Good writing makes complex ideas and research accessible to a broader range of readers. Séverine Autesserre is a master of this craft.
The core insight in The Frontlines of Peace is both profound and simple: peace is built by insiders, potentially with support from outsiders. While many scholars of political conflict study violence, The Frontlines of Peace focuses on the less glamorous daily acts of cooperation. As demonstrated throughout the book, Autesserre is not unfamiliar with violence or its effects. She has observed both. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, she chooses to study peace. In so doing, she challenges conventional assumptions that war-affected places are characterized only by widespread violence, instead arguing that peace and cooperation are also pervasive. As her compelling case studies of Idjwi and Somaliland demonstrate, peace may be most visible in the absence of international intervention and its follies. But Autesserre also maintains that outsiders can (and should) help insiders to build peace, particularly if they adopt the behaviors of her model intervenors.
Autesserre succinctly summarizes the characteristics of these model intervenors in a stick-figure diagram: “I’m happy to work from the back seat; I’ll be here for years; I don’t call the shots; I don’t know better than local people; But I do know the local language and context; I’m flexible and so are my plans” (153). She contrasts this locally-responsive behavior to the standard behavior of Peace, Inc.—the name Autesserre gives to international intervenors operating in conflict-affected countries—which she argues prioritizes elite-level political agreements, top-down expansion of state authority, and the expertise of outsiders over insiders (138, 182).
While the findings presented in The Frontlines of Peace are unlikely to surprise these insiders, scholars of peacebuilding, or many seasoned peacebuilders, they are not the book’s main audience. The same international policymakers that the book critiques seem to be its primary intended audience. The intervention decisions that most affect war and peace in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, South Sudan, Colombia, Timor-Leste, or Burundi are often made by policymakers in distant capitals who often have little knowledge of these contexts or the problems with top-down intervention, as Autesserre illustrates with the example of her dinner at the French Ambassador’s house (93). Autesserre challenges these policymakers to reconsider who builds peace and how it is built. In so doing, she aims to shift their focus from seemingly noble international peacebuilders to ordinary citizens who engage in unglamorous but courageous acts to create peace at home.
Autesserre emphasizes the importance of local peacebuilding in part by critiquing international peacebuilding efforts, which she refers to as Peace, Inc. Building on the themes of her prior two books—The Trouble with Congo (2010) and Peaceland (2014)—Autesserre identifies the shared practices and cultures of international peacebuilding efforts that, she contends, prevent them from understanding, empowering, or engaging with local peacebuilders (see Chapters 3 and 4). She adeptly explains the inherent racism and bias that infiltrates the aid field, creating the line between outsiders and insiders; those with power and authority, and those without. Her examples enable the reader to see and feel the isolation and ignorance that it fosters. Her description of the broader aid culture accurately identifies the worst characteristics of international aid actors, which so often undermine peace and development that they seek to promote. At the same time, the descriptions of Peace, Inc. throughout the book seem to be a caricature that hides the more nuanced and locally informed behaviors that permeate most international aid efforts that I have studied in Burundi, the DRC, Nepal, South Sudan, and Sudan.
I have seen many aid workers that behave as Autesserre describes—in ways that are selfish, ignorant, racist, and irresponsible—but I have also seen many who behave differently, much like the model peacebuilders described in Chapter 6. It made me wonder if there was something specific about the environments that Autesserre is observing. Is there something particular to contexts that are at the height of conflict, where INGOs parachute in for just a few months and UN staff deploy in part to receive hazard pay? I think there might be. But I have also seen innovative international staff who, even in the midst of war, bend or break standard operating procedures to make their top-down bureaucracies support local peacebuilders. I call these individuals “rule breakers,” as Autesserre mentions (166). I think they are more pervasive than the broader literature or Chapter 3 acknowledge.
In spite of the numerous critiques that The Frontlines of Peace levies at international peacebuilders, it may also give them undue credit. While Autesserre refers to the international aid actors operating in conflict-affected countries as Peace, Inc., the majority of these organizations would most likely classify themselves as humanitarian, development, or multi-mandate organizations. Most of these organizations do not consider peacebuilding to be their central aim. As a result, the numerous peacebuilding lessons learned that Autesserre identifies may be lost on an international aid industry that often prioritizes development or humanitarian aims, without considering their effect on conflict, even when operating in war-torn countries. Furthermore, the increasing competition among bilateral donors, such as China and the US, combined with the host government’s willingness to expel IGOs, INGOs, and states operating on their territory, may further decrease the willingness of aid actors to engage in potentially risky peacebuilding activities that may upset the host government. This potential shift away from peacebuilding may be what makes Autesserre’s focus on individual responsibility increasingly important.
Autesserre’s call for individual responsibility in the face of violence, poverty, and inequality is one of the most important parts of this book. This is the antidote to the Peace, Inc.’s alienation from the contexts that it purports to serve. International peacebuilding efforts were built on the idea that conflict exists elsewhere and that wealthy, democratic countries are well-placed to show conflict-affected countries how to build peace. Not only does Autesserre present extensive evidence to challenge this hubris; she calls on her readers to imagine how conflict occurs in their own backyards and what peacebuilding in these spaces may look like. In doing so, not only does Autesserre enable her readers to understand the flaws in a top-down approach to solving other people’s problems, she forces them to contend with both the complexity of conflict and the unglamorous acts that are necessary for peace.
Autesserre’s call for her readers to engage in peacebuilding in their own communities is even more powerful when one understands her own personal journey and how it shaped her inimitable scholarly record and her commitment to sharing her research with a wider audience via this book. I suspect that a deeper discussion with other peacebuilding scholars and model peacebuilders would also reveal stories of experience with the virulence of violence and the humanity of peace.
I come from a family of “local” peacebuilders who used both top-down and bottom-up approaches, but who believed deeply in the principles of Autesserre’s model peacebuilders. My father is a clergyman who worked through the church to fight for racial reconciliation in the capital of the US Confederacy: Richmond, Va. His father had grown up on Washington and Lee campus, named for George Washington and Robert E. Lee, and gone on to become a civil rights lawyer who sued the state of Virginia to stop massive resistance and force Virginia to desegregate its schools. His mother believed the path to peace was via education for all children, leading her to be the founding president of the Washington Educational Television Association (WETA).
Contending with conflict in one’s own backyard forces one to realize that conflict, peace, truth, violence, governance, and access to social services are all intertwined. At home, model peacebuilders use the access they have to influence change in the way that they can. No entry point is wrong, but there is always further to go. This is what I hope readers will take away from The Frontlines of Peace.
It would be a shame if readers of The Frontlines of Peace simply decided to condemn international intervenors, which Autesserre refers to as Peace, Inc., for their supposed ignorance of the aid industry’s problems. I have interviewed and surveyed hundreds of UN, INGO, and donor staff who have expressed a keen awareness of and frustration with the dysfunction of the international aid industry. It would be a shame if policymakers decided that the easy solution was simply to pour money into local organizations. As the case study of the Life and Peace Institute in Chapter 2 demonstrates, a rapid influx of money may actually undermine the good work being done by local peacebuilders. It would also be a shame if policymakers eschewed state-centric (or top-down) peacebuilding efforts. As Autesserre states throughout the book, top down policy reform is also necessary. Instead, I hope that readers of The Frontlines of Peace will heed Autesserre’s call to humbly engage in building peace abroad and at home, with full recognition that the only way to succeed is to engage at the frontlines, wherever they are found.
Academic scholars, practitioners and policy analysts are divided over the question of whether peacekeeping works. One camp argues that peacekeeping is an effective and efficient tool for preventing conflict recurrence. These effects are especially robust if the peacekeeping operation is large in size: increasing numbers of deployed peacekeepers decreases hostilities, reduces civilian suffering, and increases combatant hostilities. A second camp, however, is more skeptical, pointing out that many peacekeeping operations suffer under resource deficiencies and thus do not fulfill what they are supposed to do. Instead, they have become tools of influence for great and middle powers with harmful side effects for the peace-kept (e.g., sexual and economic exploitation) and the peacekeepers themselves.
In The Frontlines of Peace, Séverine Autesserre positions herself in the camp of the peacekeeping sceptics. Nevertheless, Autesserre does not reject the idea of peacekeeping in its entirety. Rather, she illustrates her version of what’s wrong and how to fix some of these issues.
Building on her rich academic research, Autesserre’s central argument is that peace in war-torn countries cannot be imposed by central governments or outside forces – or what she calls “top-down” peacekeeping (44). Instead, peace has to be won locally: “Contrary to what most politicians and interveners preach, outside experts, national leaders, and top-down approaches are not the only means to reestablishing peace. Bottom-up initiatives can also make a difference, and ordinary people have the capacity to address some of the deeper roots of their country’s problems” (44).
Autesserre uses the catchy phrase “Peace Inc.” to describe the class of people and set of institutions that is currently in charge of international peacebuilding efforts. For the most part highly educated and with financial resources at their disposal, Peace Inc. adherents move from one conflict zone to the next trying to fix what is broken. Nevertheless, despite their (for the most part) good faith efforts, they fail. Whether in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; Autesserre’s prime case study), Somalia, South Sudan, Afghanistan, foreign peacebuilding has a dismal track record.
Autesserre tries to get at the bottom of this phenomenon proposing a variety of pathways that contribute to this failure. Most importantly, she points out that local knowledge gets frequently dismissed by Peace Inc. because of enduring stereotypes and blatant arrogance on behalf of the foreign peacebuilders. Relatedly, Peace Inc. keeps designing flawed interventions since their strategy of reconciling state leaders and armed groups overlooks local conflict dynamics, which are often quite distinct from national and international ones, and their “election fetish” ignores that foreign-imposed democratic processes often lead to violent domestic power struggles, reinforced social divisions and increased attacks against minority groups (104).
Autesserre concludes with a “New Peace Manifesto” – a road map forward. She suggests that Peace Inc. should not be abandoned completely but revised. Peace Inc. “should seek out, build upon, and if appropriate, encourage the alternative peacebuilding techniques that they usually disdain or combat” (44).
The book has many strengths. At the same time, there are also some flaws.
First, throughout the book Autesserre remains very vague when it comes to connecting the local, the national, and the international levels. She acknowledges that local peace, for example on an island called Idjwi in the DRC “wouldn’t survive an invasion by a powerful armed group, whether from Rwanda or Congo, whether backed by governments or by rebels. So top-down peace-building remains crucial, because it can help perpetuate the achievement of local residents” (44). It remains unclear, however, how exactly this connection between top-down and bottom up would look. Similarly, Autesserre points out that the main instigators of local struggles are often villagers, traditional chiefs, or community authorities (106). Nevertheless, when she describes how localized fighting escalates into generalized hostilities across a whole province, state and even at times into neighboring countries (107), one wonders why this is the case. Many countries experience local conflicts of the sort Autesserre describes but it is not clear why these conflicts escalate only in some cases and not in others. Autesserre’s narrative is also highly disdainful of national and local government institutions. She rightly points out (104) that “in places like Somalia and South Sudan, the state is unable to carry out its most basic responsibilities like providing safety or building infrastructure… in Congo, a stronger state hasn’t promoted social peace; instead it has enabled the Congolese government to jail, torture, and kill residents more easily” (104). Nevertheless, national and local governments, under the right circumstances, can also “do good” – especially in the realm of public good provision, taxation, coordination and regulation. The question then, of course, is how these right circumstances can be achieved. The book does not offer guidance on this issue.
Second, Autesserre overlooks other potential causes that might contribute to peacebuilding failure. My own research has let me down the path of examining UN peacekeepers’ motivation. In a 2019 article “Buying Allies,” I describe how pervasive side-payments have become in recruiting peacekeeping forces, and propose that a deleterious propensity toward profit might have infiltrated peacekeeping operations. Many states do not send peacekeepers abroad to contribute to building peace but because they intend to profit financially or politically from joining peacekeeping missions. This attitude can lead to counterproductive behavior in the conflict theater. States have an interest to limit their operational commitment to ensure a profit margin (i.e., they restrict their involvement to a minimum, for example, via risk-averse operational strategies or caveats). Moreover, these payment schemes are also likely to create the potential for corruption, favoritism, and nepotism. Soldiers are chosen not for their professional capacities but for other sociopolitical reasons. These phenomena might work in tandem with what Autesserre describes but may also add an additional complicating layer to the issue.
Third, Autesserre provides gripping anecdotal evidence of the phenomena she sees plaguing Peace Inc. Nevertheless, at times one wonders how representative these individual stories are. Ideally this book will inspire future researchers to dig deeper and investigate, perhaps via survey research, how endemic the stereotypes that Autesserre so vividly describes are (70); how widespread and deep foreign peacebuilders’ “frustration” with their local co-workers is (80); and how hurtful “cutting corners” (99) and measuring outcomes quantitatively turns out to be.
In summary, The Frontlines of Peace is an immensely important book. It is a must-read for anybody who is interested in peacebuilding, conflict resolution and global affairs.
Much of the existing peace and state-building literature in political science focuses on the failures. Séverine Autesserre’s The Frontline of Peace, is a welcome change to this literature as it demonstrates successful cases of peace building. Autesserre essentially flips the script by stating: “the puzzling question is not why our conflict resolution efforts fall flat in the face of such daunting obstacles, but why they sometimes triumph” (18). Like her other work, Autesserre describes the importance of local efforts to build peace, but unlike in her other work, she provides a framework for ensuring future success. It turns out that the prescription for success is simple: “give power to ordinary citizens to make their own peace through everyday actions and activities.” She first highlights local practices from diverse cases—Idgwi Island in the DRC to San José de Apartado in Colombia, to Wahat al-Salam (Neve Shalom) on the border of Israel and Palestine, while also pointing out how international peace building can support these local initiatives.
The book clearly breaks new ground in describing the conditions under which local peace building occurs, and it provides fruitful theory-building foundations for social scientists looking to study peace building approaches. Specifically, Autesserre’s focus on the importance of social norms and relationships, and her advice for international actors about how to work with local peace builders serve as potential avenues that future research on peace building could build on.
The various case studies in the book point to the importance of social norms and local institutions that help to facilitate and spread these norms throughout any given community. Numerous examples abound in the book. On Idgwi Island, residents developed a “culture of peace,” where non-violent conflict resolution is the norm. This norm is reinforced by the church, elders, traditional chiefs, healers, teachers, neighbors, and family members. People trust these actors and institutions and they trust each other; in short, they live in a cohesive community. The dense social network means that non-compliance with the norms is sanctioned at the societal level. Furthermore, institutions, such as marriage, are used to keep the peace. Family and clan rivalries are kept in check on Idgwi Island via marriage alliances. Finally, rumors, superstitions, stories, and narratives about rituals (e.g. blood pacts) also help to reinforce the peace. They create cohesion within communities while also creating myths about the community that keep outsiders from attacking. They further serve to deter people from behaving in certain ways for fear of divine retribution. All these check and balances at the community level prevent any one dispute or incident from escalating into larger conflicts. Autesserre concludes that “the most effective paths to peace include understanding and making the most of local belief systems, promoting an active culture of nonviolence, relying on grassroots organizations [and institutions], and strengthening community bonds” (43).
While Autesserre lists these examples as a narrative, one could take the examples and turn them into viable social scientific mechanisms and theories that could be tested. For example, social scientists could look at whether marriages foster alliances that prevent conflict. They could also look at social networks and social sanction, deriving theories about which vertical and horizontal relationships are best at reinforcing local norms. Yet, while Autesserre demonstrates that social norms, local institutions, and networks are crucial for conflict resolution, it is often unclear how these social norms, local institutions, and networks become established in the first place. This is where further research becomes crucial. How do cultures of peace develop? Why do some communities develop social norms about nonviolence while others do not? Why do some communities have strong codes of conduct while others do not? How do local conflict resolution institutions emerge? How does community cohesion happen?
Autesserre also implies that certain preconditions are necessary for local peace to work including widespread acceptance of the established social norms of a community (e.g. culture of peace). In other examples, Autesserre suggests that a unified goal among the local elites and leaders is perhaps a pre-requisite such as in Somaliland where the goal is autonomy. Moreover, that groups come together to provide goods and services to the public sometimes with the aid of formal authority (e.g. governmental) and sometimes without means that there is a lack of corruption or at least an understanding that the existing method of distribution is acceptable to all. These preconditions help us predict which communities are prone to peace, but they might not help explain how communities that do not have these characteristics become more peaceful. What happens when a unified goal does not bring community cohesion? Or when there is no unified goal at all? What happens if there are high levels of local corruption?
Importantly, Autesserre is careful to point out the tradeoffs of relying on local social norms, ties, and narratives to create peace. Sometimes promoting peace means that other social justice goals such as equality for women, democracy, or justice are sidelined. Local peace is valued over larger goals. For example, arranged marriages may be important for facilitating peace, but they are also potentially antithetical to gender equality. In this way, the decision to establish one institution or norm to facilitate peace negates the possibility of promoting a larger goal that would benefit more people. Autesserre’s answer to this is to let locals decide what is most important to them.
Yet, there is a potentially darker side to the reliance on social norms, local institutions, and networks to facilitate peace. Sometimes norms, institutions, networks, stories, narratives, and rumors are harmful to society and could even exacerbate conflict. Rumors and stories facilitate misinformation that fuels conflict. Cohesive groups are antagonistic to outsiders. Thus, the very mechanisms that Autesserre points to might, in some cases lead to conflict, not peace. As such, it is very important for future research to study the tradeoffs of using local approaches as well as the conditions under which they may sometimes backfire.
In addition to demonstrating the importance of social norms, networks, institutions, and narratives for local peace building success, Autesserre outlines how international peace builders can strengthen local peace building. She suggests a dismantling of “Peace Inc,” or the peace industry where international actors “run the show” and make all the decisions. Specifically, this dismantling means that international peacebuilders should shy away from top-down approaches to conflict resolution, moving away from fetishes such as promoting elections as catchall solution to conflicts, and avoiding a cookie-cutter approach where one idea that ‘works’ in one context is replicated in another context. Second, it means that international peacebuilders should be humble about their own expertise. They should realize that the real experts are locals and strive to identify local actors who have the knowledge and information to undertake conflict prevention, analysis, mediation, and resolution. Indeed many people are already doing these things in conflict-ridden locales, but they are not recognized. International peace builders can identify local expertise by listening to locals, building meaningful relationships with them, and by giving locals the credit for success. International actors can also help create spaces where peace can happen. In this sense, “the role of outsiders is to help local people to better analyze their problems by providing safe spaces for residents to share their perspectives and confront difficult questions, which helps them move from accusations to enquiry” (56). Finally, international peace builders are most successful when they are given the flexibility to be creative and potentially break the rules. Peace builders who innovate, think outside the box, and even disobey higher authority enable new ideas [particularly from locals] to lead the way.
These “best practices” for international peace builders provide social scientists with testable conditions under which international interventions can be successful. There are many possibilities: a careful comparisons of peace building interventions that use participatory action methods versus a top down approach. Another possibility is to randomize individuals into leadership positions based on their skills or personality type. One treatment would be to incorporate individuals who excel in listening, humility, and relationship builders as leaders. Another treatment would be to instill those who have technical expertise and bureaucratic skills. And finally, the last treatment would be to incorporate those who are rule breakers as leaders. One could then compare how the organization implements activities and whether those activities lead to peace or not. Thus, Autesserre provides future researchers with a completely new way of thinking about the role of international peacebuilders, one that focuses on individuals and relationships more so than programs.
Equally important to the theoretical innovations Autesserre makes regarding international peace building is how she makes this contribution. The book is easily accessible to a general audience, including practitioners, policymakers, students, scholars, and ordinary citizens. It is also refreshing to see that she devotes an entire chapter to explaining how “peaceful” countries such as the US or France have a lot to learn from peace builders in conflict-ridden countries. In doing so, she points out that the real experts on peace building are the everyday actors in any community who engage in small acts that create and sustain peace. But perhaps more importantly, the personal narratives and stories make it clear that there is more at stake for Autesserre than writing a ‘how to’ manual. She makes the book personal by documenting her own failures and her own vulnerabilities. It is clear that her own realization of the failures of Peace Inc. and subsequent separation from the industry is an allegory for what the entire peacebuilding complex should do. They should be honest with themselves about their past and present, and change the future of international peace building by “asking not assuming,” “following not leading,” “supporting not ruling” (175). The key to peace building success, thus, is all about self-reflection and self-correction.
Peace should be built from the bottom-up and through local knowledge and practices. This is what the always insightful Séverine Autesserre argues in her new book. Intended for a large audience and free from academic jargon, the book rightly criticizes international organisations, big NGOs and peacekeepers because of their top-down, outsider-led approach to peacebuilding which Autesserre coins as “Peace, Inc.” (5).Using illuminating anecdotes from peace projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Rwanda, and Somalia, amongst others, the first part of the book demonstrates that international peacebuilders have failed to bring sustainable peace because of their refusal to consider local ideas, their obsession with trickle-down peace based on high-level negotiations and elite peace agreements, and their assumption that foreign solutions are better than local ones. In the last part of the book, Autesserre offers a policy alternative, the “New Peace Manifesto” (121), a bottom-up and long-term approach in which international and national workers take the back seat and partner-up with grassroots organisations in local communities to solve and prevent conflict.
Peacebuilders had already started to experiment with the recipe to end violence that Autesserre offers. For example, in response to the findings of the 2015 review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council passed concurrent resolutions on Sustaining Peace. The resolutions marked a change in the technocratic Western-based peacebuilding culture through three main propositions: first, a new focus on long-term, conflict prevention interventions that address root causes of war; second, a recognition that international actors need to take the back seat and to focus on providing long-term support to a variety of local actors, who are the primary agents of peace; and third, understanding that in order to be transformative, peacebuilding should offer local, context-specific, and flexible solutions. Both approaches, Autesserre’s New Peace Manifesto and the Sustaining Peace agenda, require local ownership, a participatory approach, and flexible solutions. The role of the model intervener is simply to provide technical and financial support to the plans formulated by local stakeholders.
As a feminist peace scholar, I endorse the bottom-up approach that Autesserre proposes. However, I am also wary of the fact that instead of disrupting international peacebuilding culture, the New Peace Manifesto could unwillingly feed it once it is taken up and embedded within international power structures.
First, in its insistence that peacebuilding can work and that good-willing peacebuilders just need another chance, there is little questioning of the need for international intervention. The idea is that if peacebuilders try harder, they will succeed. However, as I and others have argued elsewhere, the ideas of critical peace scholars are often stripped from the aspiration to transform peacebuilding as soon as they are taken up and channelled through funds, projects, and deadlines. For instance, a brief look at final reports of Sustaining Peace projects funded through the UN Peacebuilding Fund in the last 5 years in countries such as DRC, Burundi, or Liberia is enough to reveal how although inclusion of local knowledge and practices are central, these are only so if compatible with donor’s goals and ideologies of governance. Furthermore, the success stories these reports tell are still determined in relation to universal standards and desirable outcomes, such as the absence of conflict and the number of individuals trained in conflict resolution skills. The result is a profound contradiction between the need to solve local problems with solutions based on existing indigenous knowledges and practices, and the need to justify extended external interventions and their technical, universal nature.
The second limitation concerns the book’s tacit acceptance of the narrow and classic definitions of war. In the first chapter, Autesserre provides the unlikely example of the island of Idjwi. She argues that despite the ongoing violence in the DRC and the extreme poverty and ethnic diversity in the island, Idjwi has managed to avoid war and to create a “culture of peace” (36) through local leadership and social practices such as marriage. However, Idjwi is not peaceful at all. There is gender-based violence, discrimination against Pygmies and structural violence that results in poverty, hunger, and displacement. Later in the book Autesserre also argues that as in Idjwi, traditional leaders, local elites and ordinary citizens help keep the peace in Somaliland. She offers the example of two sub-clans that started to fight because the cattle of one clans started to graze on the other’s clan’s land. Twenty-two people died and almost hundred were injured, but the violence did not escalate further because the top clan leaders sat together and reached a compromise: they agreed to pay 100 camels for every man killed, and 50 for every woman.
Autesserre suggests that it is the intended beneficiaries who should decide between peace and democracy in Congo, or peace and women’s equality in Somaliland. However, from a feminist perspective this dichotomy is fraught. First, it means taking more seriously certain local actors, such as elder male clan leaders, over others, such as women’s associations. Second, describing structural violence and gender inequality as issues that can be dealt with later is to accept Peace Inc.’s definitions of war and indicators of peace. These conceptualisations, which consider armed conflict as more important than structural violence, are based on the experiences and discourses of those powerful elites and international actors that Autesserre recognises have been unsuccessful at delivering sustainable peace. And as the book rightly mentions, these have little to do with the peace indicators people use in their everyday life, such as whether dogs are barking at night due to the presence of strangers or whether one can use the outside toilet or needs to wait until daylight. Insecurities and violence arrive well before armed conflict in places such as the home, the school, the bedroom. To end violence, Autesserre is right that we have to fundamentally transform the way we view and build peace, but we also need to change the way we understand war.
The hallmark of good scholarly work is when it generates not only heartfelt praises for form and content, but also heated debates and stimulating avenues for further research. So I am deeply grateful to Deborah Avant, Susanna Campbell, Marina Henke, Sabrina Karim, and Maria Martin de Almagro for their thoughtful comments on The Frontlines of Peace, as well as to our editor Danielle Lupton and the whole H-Diplo team for publishing our discussion.
Thanks to the contributors’ suggestions, questions, and commendations, this roundtable is the perfect way to celebrate the book’s release in paperback and its translation into French and Japanese.
How can we link top-down and bottom-up initiatives (Henke)? How do social norms, institutions, and networks become established in the first place (Karim)? These two queries recur when I present the book to policymakers and practitioners, who wonder how they can create the conditions for effective grassroots action.
The Frontlines of Peace answer both questions, but it is an answer that my audiences rarely like: The causes of local successes, the reasons for the establishments of peace-promoting norms and institutions, and the ways to connect top-down to bottom-up initiatives are contingent, ad hoc, and context specific.
I did look for a generalizable set of essential components and concluded that there is no formula that works everywhere. The case studies of Idjwi (Congo), Somaliland (Somalia), San José de Apartadó (Colombia), Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom (Israel), and neighborhoods of Chicago (United States) show that grassroots initiatives succeed when they are rooted in the specific values, cultures, geographies, histories, and social organizations of local communities. Only then can they address the precise causes of violence and their evolutions over time, and only then can they build on the opportunities offered by the peace practices, beliefs, and networks present on the ground.
The main common thread in all of the stories of successful peacebuilding I found around the world is that 1) the residents achieved peace thanks to grassroots, bottom-up efforts; 2) everyone was involved, including the poorest and least powerful members of the community; 3) they all built on their specific, unique local history, politics, and cultures; and 4) at times they had foreign support, but from peacebuilders who respected local residents, listened to them, and built on their knowledge and skills, unlike the typical Peace, Inc. approach.
For instance, it is thanks to Somaliland’s unique culture and history—its clan system, the respect for elders, the importance of Islamic laws and values, its colonial legacies, etc.—that elite bargains connected to bottom-up efforts, national and local governments ‘did good’ (to use Henke’s words), and peacebuilding and statebuilding succeeded, unlike in much of the rest of Somalia. The US examples of bottom-up initiatives that linked with top-down policies to successfully decrease gun violence in Californian cities have—of course—very different pathways.
That is why the broad principles I detail in chapter 6, and that Campbell and Karim helpfully summarize, are so critical. Whether peacebuilders want to support top-down or bottom-up initiatives, at home or abroad, they need to learn the specific languages, histories, and cultures of the communities they mean to help and get involved over the long term (up to decades). Because these societies, dynamics of conflict, and opportunities for peace are not static but always changing, peacebuilders must also maintain a great deal of flexibility, so that they can always adapt.
This is all well and good, you may think along with Martin de Almagro, but do we really need foreign involvement? If so, how, and why? This question that was at the core of the research I conducted for The Frontlines of Peace, given the issues I had described in my second book, Peaceland.
Peaceland focused on what I now call “Peace, Inc.”: the conventional but problematic way to end wars— a formulaic, top-down, outsider-led approach, which cannot and does not work. This standard approach to peacebuilding relies on governments, elites, and foreign peacebuilders, and usually excludes local activists and ordinary people. In The Frontlines of Peace, I explain that Peace, Inc. is based on misleading and detrimental assumptions, such as the ideas that only top-down intervention can end armed violence, “all good things come together” (for instance, that elections naturally lead to peace), and only outsiders have the required skills and expertise to build peace. Sadly, the consequences are often disastrous. Well-meaning international efforts have led to an increase in violence in places like Afghanistan and Congo.
The first draft of Peaceland was extremely critical of international peace efforts, and its conclusion was that we should just get out. And then I presented my research to peacebuilders from Burundi, Congo, Somalia, Sudan, and a few other countries. These local activists loved my criticisms of international interventions, but I also received a lot of pushback from them. I quickly realized that, to most local peacebuilders, eliminating outside involvement was a terrible idea—and a dangerous one. In the following years, as I finalized Peaceland and then embarked on the research for The Frontlines of Peace, the more I worked, the more I discovered just how right the local activists were.
In chapter 6 of my new book, The Frontlines of Peace, I explain that foreigners make essential contributions to local peace efforts—which are not limited to the technical and financial support that Martin de Almagro notes. In addition to funding, their comparative advantages include offering ideas from elsewhere, connections with international and national authorities and with their respective peace programs, a certain level of security and protection, and at times just plain moral support. Furthermore, outsiders are needed because conflict-zones inhabitants face many challenges that foreigners are spared (like threats to their families) and because, as Martin de Almagro further emphasizes, even the residents who manage to build and maintain peace in their communities are no angels (many residents of Somaliland and Idjwi, for instance, treat women horribly).
This finding pushed me to look at the other side of the coin. Instead of focusing on failure (like I did in Peaceland), in my research for The Frontlines of Peace, I decided to look at what does work. The result is a book that portrays role models and suggests pathways for reform.
Like Campbell, I have found many original, out-of-the-box approaches by foreign peacebuilders who come from all over the world and work for very different organizations in very different countries. The Frontlines of Peace shows that these interveners can make a positive difference both at the highest level and on the ground, and chapter 6 details the lessons we can learn from them. Sadly, however, model peacebuilders are not as pervasive as the reviewers and I would hope.
It is true that most people involved in international aid now say that locally driven work is essential. Many high-level policy documents (such as those that Martin de Almagro cites) emphasize that supporting grassroots, bottom-up processes is crucial, and so is working with insiders. But this change remains at the level of the discourse rather than in practice.
In May 2021, I presented The Frontlines of Peace to Ukrainian peacebuilders. My host did not find my portrayal of international aid to be too stark or caricatured, far from it. There were roughly 2,000 international and non-governmental organizations present in her country at the time, she explained. All kept repeating that local ownership mattered. But only two let insiders drive the peacebuilding process.
She was not the only one who found my portrayal of the international aid system to be spot on. A former head of United Nations peacekeeping self-identified as “a card-carrying member of Peace, Inc.” The executive directors of two large, renowned non-governmental organizations bought copies of The Frontlines of Peace and distributed them to their teams and board members. It was their way to gracefully show their colleagues the errors of their ways and convince them that change is both necessary and possible.
In brief, based on all the feedback I have received since the book’s publication, it is clear that adepts of Peace, Inc. still run the show. Most often than not, peacebuilding programs are still designed by outsiders based in headquarters and capital cities. “Local ownership,” when it exists, usually means ownership by national elites. Instead of increasing to 25% (as planned in the United Nations-mediated “Grand Bargain” between major donors and humanitarian organizations), aid to local and national civil society has actually decreased in recent years: from 3.5% in 2016 to 2.1 % in 2020.
But again, my argument is not ‘let’s get rid of peacekeepers’—or diplomats, donors, and other kinds of international interveners—but instead ‘let’s help them be more effective.’ This leads to the main contribution of The Frontlines of Peace: its focus on success, as Karim and Campbell so helpfully flag.
Indeed, while there is enormous research on violence and failure, there are comparably much fewer publications on peace and peacebuilding success, especially at the local level. Those on international contributions to grassroots peacebuilding are even rarer. This is unfortunate, as the implications of such studies are enormous, for both research and practice.
Readers who are interested in the questions about dynamics of violence and peacekeeping failure raised in this roundtable can find answers in the five contributors’ (groundbreaking) books and articles, in the many publications listed in the appendix to The Frontlines of Peace (193-204), and in my own work. The Trouble with the Congo, Peaceland, and The Frontlines of Peace, for instance, situate war, peace, and violence on a continuum with no clear linear progression. They also elaborate on the many definitions of peace that residents and international interveners use, based on what they feel and experience (16-17)—from a former child soldier “speaking in the future tenses” (in Congo, 15) to a woman sleeping in her pajamas (in Colombia, 154-155).
But researching peace and peacebuilding success is an endeavor that is conceptually and practically distinct from investigating war and peacekeeping failure. In The Trouble with the Congo, for instance, I look at why localized fighting escalates into generalized hostilities across a whole province, state, and neighboring countries. The Frontlines of Peace flips this question on its head by explaining how local initiatives actually prevent violence from escalating.
Likewise, both The Trouble with the Congo and Peaceland explore the variety of pathways and causes that contribute to international intervention failure. Instead, The Frontlines of Peace studies why, despite all of the challenges, some international involvement actually succeeds.
The Frontlines of Peace is a book about success, not failure. It is a book about peace, not war. It is a book about what works in building peace during and after mass violence. And, therefore, The Frontlines of Peace is first and foremost a book about hope. It is a book about ordinary individuals who successfully oppose violence. It is a book about how all of us can change the world.
The Frontlines of Peace demonstrates that, whether at home or abroad, we sorely need more of the model peacebuilders I portray, and more organizations and more programs that follow the basic principles I develop. It is with individuals and organizations like these that we can help the two billion people who live under the threat of violence in war zones around the world, and that we can also decrease tensions and fighting in our own communities.
These ideas are not magic wands, but because they take into account deeply rooted causes of conflict, they can definitely be game changers. Of course, The Frontlines of Peace has many more stories, details, and ideas about everything we are discussing in this roundtable, so I hope that this book will be widely read, discussed, and assigned.
 Oliver Kaplan, Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Susanna Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace: Accountability and Performance in International Peacebuilding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Deborah Avant, Marie Berry, Erica Chenoweth, Rachel Epstein, Cullen Hendrix, and Timothy Sisk, Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019).
 Séverine Autesserre, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Autesserre, The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
 Harrison White, “Network Switchings and Bayesian Forks: Reconstructing the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” Social Research 62, (Winter) 1995: 1035-1063; John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell, The Emergence of Organizations and Markets (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012); Sebastian Schmidt, “Creativity and its Consequences,” in “Pragmatism in IR: the Prospects for Substantive Theorizing,” International Studies Review 23, 4, 2021: 1933-1958.
 Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
 Latour, Reassembling the Social; Jason Ralph, “What should be Done? Pragmatic Constructivist Ethics and the Responsibility to Protect,” International Organization 72, 1, 2018: 173-203; Sebastian Schmidt and Nicolas Jabko, “Paradigms and Practice,” International Studies Quarterly, 0: 1-8, 2021; Simon Pratt, “From Norms to Normative Configurations: a Pragmatic and Relational Approach to Theorizing in IR, International Theory 12, 1, 2020: 59-82.
 Séverine Autesserre, The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Séverine Autesserre, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
 Susanna Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace: Accountability and Performance in International Peacebuilding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).
 Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace, 260-261.
 Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace.
 Haley J. Swedlund, “Is China Eroding the Bargaining Power of Traditional Donors in Africa?” International Affairs 93:2 (March 2017): 389-408. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiw059; Susanna P. Campbell and Aila M. Matanock, “Weapons of the Weak State: How Post-Conflict States Shape International Statebuilding,” Available at SSRN 3813907 (2021).
 Michael Barnett, Hunjoon Kim, Madalene O’Donnell, and Laura Sitea, “Peacebuilding: What is in a name.” Global Governance 13 (2007): 35-58.
 Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace.
 See, for example, Virginia Page Fortna and Lise Morje Howard, “Pitfalls and Prospects in the Peacekeeping Literature,” Annual Review of Political Science 11 (2008). Michael W Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, “International peacebuilding: A theoretical and quantitative analysis,” American Political Science Review 94, no. 4 (2000). Michael W Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, Making war and building peace: United Nations peace operations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006). Virginia P Fortna, Does peacekeeping work?: shaping belligerents’ choices after civil war (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008).Gilligan Michael J Gilligan and Ernest J Sergenti, “Do UN interventions cause peace? Using matching to improve causal inference,” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 3, no. 2 (2008).
 See, for example, Barbara F Walter, Committing to peace: The successful settlement of civil wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002). Kyle Beardsley, “Peacekeeping and the contagion of armed conflict,” The Journal of Politics 73, no. 4 (2011). Lisa Hultman, Jacob Kathman, and Megan Shannon, “Beyond keeping peace: United Nations effectiveness in the midst of fighting,” American Political Science Review 108, no. 04 (2014). Lisa Hultman, Jacob Kathman, and Megan Shannon, “United Nations peacekeeping and civilian protection in civil war,” American Journal of Political Science 57, no. 4 (2013). Andrea Ruggeri, Han Dorussen, and Theodora-Ismene Gizelis, “On the frontline every day? Subnational deployment of United Nations peacekeepers,” British Journal of Political Science (2016).
 See for example, Duane Bratt, “Explaining peacekeeping performance: The UN in internal conflicts,” International Peacekeeping 4, no. 3 (1997). Lise Morjé Howard and Anjali Kaushlesh Dayal, “The use of force in UN peacekeeping,” International Organization 72, no. 1 (2018). Lise Morjé Howard, Power in peacekeeping (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Sabrina Karim and Kyle Beardsley, “Explaining sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions: The role of female peacekeepers and gender equality in contributing countries,” Journal of Peace Research 53, no. 1 (2016).
 Maggie Dwyer, “Peacekeeping abroad, trouble making at home: Mutinies in West Africa,” African Affairs 114, no. 455 (2015): 217. Jamie Levin, Joseph MacKay, and Abouzar Nasirzadeh, “Selectorate theory and the democratic peacekeeping hypothesis: evidence from Fiji and Bangladesh,” International Peacekeeping 23, no. 1 (2016), https://doi.org/10.1080/13533312.2015.1108845; Jesse Dillon Savage and Jonathan D Caverley, “When human capital threatens the Capitol:Foreign aid in the form of military training and coups,” Journal of Peace Research 54, no. 4 (2017), http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022343317713557.
 Marina E Henke, “Buying Allies: Payment Practices in Multilateral Military Coalition-Building,” International Security 43, no. 4 (2019).
 David A. Lake, The Statebuilder’s Dilemma (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016); Susanna P. Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace: Accountability and Performance in International Peacebuilding. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018; 2010); Roger Mac Ginty,.International Peacebuilding and Local Resistance: Hybrid Forms of Peace (New York: Springer, 2011).
 Séverine Autesserre, The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (New York: Cambridge University Press); and Autesserre, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
 Resolution 2282 (2016) adopted by the Security Council at its 7680th meeting, on 27 April 2016. Available online: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/827390?ln=en ; Resolution A/RES/70/262 (2016) adopted by the UN General Assembly at its 70th session, on 12 May 2016. Available online: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_70_262.pdf
 Pol Bargues-Pedreny, “Peacebuilding without Peace? On How Pragmatism Complicates the Practice of International Intervention,” Review of International Studies 46: 2 (April 2020): 237-255. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210520000042; Pol Bargues-Pedreny and Maria Martin de Almagro, “Prevention from Afar: Gendering Resilience and Sustaining Hope in post-UNMIL Liberia,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 14: 3 (May 2020): 327-348. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210520000042 ; Zubarai Wai, “Making Neoliberal Subjects: ‘Idle’ Youth, Precarity, and Development Intervention in Sierra Leone,” Journal of International Relations and Development, 24 (June 2021): 509-532. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41268-020-00200-0
 Maria Martin de Almagro, “Indicators and Success Stories: The UN Sustaining Peace Agenda, Bureaucratic Power and Knowledge Production in Post-War Settings,” International Studies Quarterly, 65: 3 (September 2021): 669-711. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqab059
 Maria Bustelo, Lucy Ferguson and Maxime Forest, eds., The Politics of Feminist Knowledge Transfer: Gender Training and Gender Expertise. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016); Freya Johnson Ross, “Professional Feminists: Challenging Local Government inside Out,” Gender, Work & Organization 26: 4 (May 2019): 520–40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12271
 Other researchers who have worked on these questions have reached the same conclusion. For the most systematic examination that exist, see chapter 3 of Diana Chigas and Peter Woodrow, Adding Up to Peace: The Cumulative Impacts of Peace Programming (Cambridge: CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, 2018). For a particularly useful, in-depth case study, see John Braithwaite, Hilary Charlesworth, Peter Reddy, and Leah Dunn, Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing Peace in Bougainville (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2010).
 Séverine Autesserre, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). For an insightful discussion of my second book, see Séverine Autesserre, Sarah Bush, Susanna Campbell, Elisabeth King, Timothy Longman, and Cecelia Lynch, “H-Diplo – ISSF Roundtable 9-5 on Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Interventions,” ed., Thomas Maddux and Diane Labrosse, H-Diplo/ISSF, 14 November 2016, http://issforum.org/roundtables/9-5-peaceland.
 Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies, “Book launch: The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World,” online (New York, NY, USA), 19 March 2021; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkkMRNhRfxM.
 Conducive Space for Peace, A Global System in Flux: Pursuing Systems Change for Locally Led Peacebuilding (Copenhagen: Conducive Space for Peace, 2021, 5).
 For in-depth literature reviews, see Virginia Page Fortna, Does Peacekeeping Work? Shaping Belligerents’ Choices after Civil War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008, 2-4); Lise Morjé Howard, UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008, 2-3 and 284); and the two articles I published to detail the scholarly justifications of The Frontlines of Peace: “Going Micro: Emerging and Future Peacekeeping Research,” International Peacekeeping 21:4 (2014, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13533312.2014.950884) and “International Peacebuilding and Local Success: Assumptions and Effectiveness,” International Studies Review 19: 1 (2017, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isr/viw054).
 Deborah Avant, “Making Peacemakers out of Spoilers: International Organizations, Private Military Training, and Statebuilding after War,” in Roland Paris and Timothy D. Sisk, eds., The Dilemmas of Statebuilding: Confronting the Contradictions of Postwar Peace Operations (London: Routledge, 2008); Susanna Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace: Accountability and Performance in International Peacebuilding (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018); Marina Henke, “Buying Allies: Payment Practices in Multilateral Military Coalition-Building,” International Security 43: 4 (2019, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00345); Sabrina Karim and Kyle Beardsley, Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace, and Security in Post-Conflict Countries (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017); and Maria Martin de Almagro, “Indicators and Success Stories: The UN Sustaining Peace Agenda, Bureaucratic Power and Knowledge Production in Post-War Settings,” International Studies Quarterly 65: 3 (2021, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqab059).
 Séverine Autesserre, The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), Peaceland, and The Frontlines of Peace.