Agents of Peace: Place, Identity and Peacebuilding

6. Gëzim Visoka (2018), ‘Agents of Peace: Place, Identity and Peacebuilding’, in Christine Agius and Dean Keep (eds), Identity Making, Displacement and Rupture: Performing Discourses of Belonging, Place and Being, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 71-87. 

This chapter proposes a new account of the identity of agents in conflict-affected societies. It investigates how place and performativity shape the identity of agents and positionality towards peacebuilding processes. The chapter begins by setting the context for elaborating alternative ways of approaching the categorisation of agents in post-conflict places via a brief discussion of the attribution of agents in peacebuilding studies. Drawing on the literature on place, space and performance theory, a conceptual framework for identifying peace agents is proposed. Finally, the chapter explores how the positionality of agents towards a conflict-affected place, namely how nearness and remoteness of insider and outsider agents from the locus of peacebuilding processes profoundly shape the prospects for sustainable peace. The chapter seeks to contribute to the exploration of new vocabularies for studying peacebuilding processes, and in doing so, contributes to the critical literature which offers alternative approaches to understanding societies affected by violent conflict. Unpacking identity has implications for understanding who are true agents of change, as well as rethinking spaces of peacebuilding especially in the coming age of remote interventionism and resilience-building in peace, security, and development practices.


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