Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran / UNAMID

Micro-Level Perspectives on Peace

While macro-level analyses have greatly contributed to our understanding of post-conflict peacebuilding, a macro-only approach entails serious shortcomings. These include a potential mismatch between theoretical mechanisms and empirical data, and a failure to take into account the attitudes of citizens towards peace, problems that may mean only superficially relevant knowledge is produced for practitioners. Addressing this issue, we take up the idea of the ‘micro-level’ as a conceptual and empirical distinction that breaks up the territorial state or dyads as levels of analysis in favor of lower-level units of analysis, such as individuals, sub-groups, or geographical regions. Using this concept, we argue that it is particularly worthwhile to study micro-level perspectives on peace in four interconnected areas that are particularly relevant in conflict-affected states: security, political access, rule of law, and economic development.

These micro-level perspectives on peace will be explored in a workshop series jointly organized by Caroline Hartzell, Felix Haass, and myself.