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Exploring Barriers to Constructing Locally Based Peacebuilding Theory: The Case of Northern Ireland

Kelly, Grainne and Stanton, Emily (2015) Exploring Barriers to Constructing Locally Based Peacebuilding Theory: The Case of Northern Ireland. International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, 1 (3). pp. 33-52. [Journal article]

[img] Text - Published Version

URL: http://www.elevenjournals.com/tijdschrift/ijcer/2015/1/IJCER_2211-9965_2015_003_001_002

DOI: 10.5553/IJCER/221199652015003001002


This article seeks to explore why, after significant financial investment and a history of nearly 50 years of civil society activity, there is a paucity of explicitly codified and consolidated indigenous theory that has emerged from peacebuilding practice in Northern Ireland. Methodologically, this apparent contradiction is explored, utilizing both empirical research (interviews with key peacebuilders) and the wide practitioner experience of the authors. It is argued that two complex dynamics have contributed to the subordination of local practice-based knowledge, namely, the professionalization of peace and the dominance of research over practice within academia. These two dynamics have played a mutually exacerbatory and significant role in creating barriers to constructing local peacebuilding theory. Phronesis, an Aristotelian term for practical knowledge, is explored to discover what insights it may contribute to both research, theory and practice in the field of peacebuilding, followed by examples of institutions demonstrating its value for practice–theory reflexivity. The article concludes with a call for peace research that validates and values practical knowledge. By doing so, the authors argue, new avenues for collaborative partnership between practitioners and academics can open up, which may play a constructive role in bridging practice–theory divides and, most importantly, contribute to building more effective and sustainable peacebuilding processes in Northern Ireland and in other conflict contexts.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:peacebuilding, phronesis, civil society, Northern Ireland, practice-theory
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > INCORE
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Politics & International Studies
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:34787
Deposited By: Ms Grainne Kelly
Deposited On:07 Jun 2016 08:15
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:23

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