Rescuing peacebuilding? Anthropology and peace formation

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Richmond, O. P. (2018). Global Society, 32(2), 221-239.

The article “Rescuing Peacebuilding? Anthropology and Peace Formation” is written by Olivier Richmond, and compares the similarities and differences between the approaches of international relations and anthropology to the study of peace. The author discusses the limitation of international relations in studying peace, in that the discipline is primarily centred on elites. Oliver Richmond criticised the discipline for its state-centred view, and its disregard for the people who suffer from wars. However, the author also recognizes the work of scholars using critical theories such as feminism and post-colonialism to promote diversity in the discipline. The author also criticizes the use of liberalism idealogy in peace-making processes, which misguides policy makers and encourages poor prioritisation. In the second part of the article, the author discusses the interrelationship between international relations and anthropology. The author considers how anthropologists can produce peace literature which differs from that produced by scholars in international relations, and how international relations scholars’ cooperation with governments could cause ethical problems for their research on peace. Finally, the article proposes the use of human-centred approaches in peace literature, instead of elite-centred approaches, to prevent those who have suffered from wars from being marginalised in the literature.

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