In many societies, informal groups and associations contribute to peacebuilding from below, e.g. in everyday conflicts such as neighbourhood disputes over resources. Peace research has not systematically explored such local peace practices and their possible contribution to the prevention and management of larger conflicts, yet. This is true, for example, in many communities in the Caucasus and Central Asia, where customary law is still relevant and local authorities such as elders or imams, but also influential women can play an important role as authorities in dispute settlements.

This project, funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research, asks: How does peace emerge at the local level? It opens the view on local perspectives, everyday practices and peace strategies. In selected places in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, scholars who speak the local languages will conduct fieldwork. They will investigate whether and how different local actors (e.g. elders, influential entrepreneurs, mayors, teachers, journalists, youth et al.) succeed in contributing to peace formation from the ground up. They pay special attention to the socio-cultural meanings of traditional world views, peaceful everyday practices and local agency. Therefore, they work among others with ethnographic and participatory methods.

The expected research results will be several joint publications that can stimulate peace research debates on regional and local diversity in peacebuilding.

Project duration: April 2023 - October 2025