This book suggests a new explanation for why international peace interventions often fail to reach their full potential. Based on several years of ethnographic research in conflict zones around the world, it demonstrates that everyday elements - such as the expatriates' social habits and usual approaches to understanding their areas of operation - strongly influence peacebuilding effectiveness. Individuals from all over the world and all walks of life share numerous practices, habits, and narratives when they serve as interveners in conflict zones. These common attitudes and actions enable foreign peacebuilders to function in the field, but they also result in unintended consequences that thwart international efforts. Certain expatriates follow alternative modes of thinking and acting, often with notable results, but they remain in the minority. Through an in-depth analysis of the interveners' everyday life and work, this book proposes innovative ways to better help host populations build a sustainable peace.
In The Press
'In this book, Séverine Autesserre makes another superb contribution to the study of peacebuilding, this time by exposing and analyzing the subculture of expatriates who participate in peacebuilding efforts on behalf of a diverse array of international and nongovernmental organizations. Many of the persistent dysfunctions of peacebuilding missions, she suggests, can be traced back to the routine practices, habits, and narratives within this subculture. It is a fascinating argument, of importance to both students and practitioners of peacebuilding.' Roland Paris, University Research Chair in International Security and Governance, University of Ottawa