Ordinary citizens typically bear the brunt of the destruction and violence in civil wars. At the same time, their engagement in and acceptance of peace processes is often a crucial ingredient for sustainable peace, while their lives continue to be shaped by the legacies of war long after weapons have fallen silent. Despite the important roles citizens play in waging war and making peace, much of what we know about peace processes in civil wars centers on the interests of elite actors and the groups that they lead. As a result, we have only very few theories and even less rigorous empirical evidence that systematically explores citizens’ perceptions of and roles in civil war peace processes and their aftermath.
Together with Caroline Hartzell and Felix Haass, I therefore explore the actions and perceptions of citizens in the different stages of peace processes. After organizing workshops in Birmingham and Austin and themed panels at IPSA, ISA, and APSA, we are currently working on a proposal for a special issue.