On doing fieldwork with a toddler

As I am home with my family in social isolation for an undetermined period of time to avoid catching/spreading the coronavirus, it seems like a great opportunity to recall my time out in the world. In fact, I have been planning to write this post for a while, but just could not find the time. As conferences have been cancelled and a big project I have been working on is stalled, it seems like an opportunity to catch up with delayed tasks of all kinds. Just before Christmas I came back from a two-months fieldwork in Timor-Leste, with my two-year … Continue reading On doing fieldwork with a toddler

Latest publications, January 2020

A brief update of my publications in 2019. JOURNAL ARTICLE Maschietto. R.H. (2019) Integrating subjectivities of power and violence in peacebuilding analysis, Third World Quarterly,  https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2019.1684191 This articles brings together and deepen a few reflections I made on the blog. Here is the abstract: Over the last 20 years the local domain has gained widespread attention in the analysis of peacebuilding. While this debate has contributed to an important review of many assumptions underlying peacebuilding practice and analysis, the subjective domain of peacebuilding – how actors experience and make sense of these transformations – still needs to be more methodically … Continue reading Latest publications, January 2020

Understanding Brazil’s authoritarian tendencies: what hopes for change?

When in May 2016 I wrote my impressions about being back to Brazil in the midst of an eroding democracy, I honestly didn’t think that things would reach the stage they currently have. I never imagined that Jair Bolsonaro would actually become president and have the support of so many educated people, including friends and relatives of mine. How and why did this happen? As the general narrative goes, Bolsonaro won because ‘we are tired of corruption’, ‘this was the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil and we cannot tolerate this’, and so forth. I even heard that ‘anything is better … Continue reading Understanding Brazil’s authoritarian tendencies: what hopes for change?

Power and the local turn in peacebuilding – a call for a more subjective understanding of a pervasive concept

While there have been several insightful publications discussing power in Peace Studies (see my previous post), when it comes to peacebuilding, and in particular the ‘local turn’, it seems that much of this discussion is absent. This is curious, to say the least, since one of the key features of this debate is precisely its quest to bring power back into the analysis of peacebuilding. One of the reasons for this lack of engagement seems to be the main (and often implicit) connotation of power present in this literature. Power is usually linked to the Foucauldian idea of ‘power everywhere’, … Continue reading Power and the local turn in peacebuilding – a call for a more subjective understanding of a pervasive concept

Latest publications, August 2018

A quick overview of my latest publications (and some not so new but that were missing on the blog). Book chapter Maschietto, Roberta H. (2018). Making sense of the social grammar and local subjectivities in peacebuilding ethnography. In: Aguilar, Sérgio Luiz Cruz; Alonso, Isabela Zorat (org.). Os desafios da política externa e segurança no século XXI. Marília: Oficina Universitária; São Paulo: Cultura Acadêmica, 79-105. This is part of my ongoing research on subjectivities of peace and power. At this stage I have been concerned with the preparation of a solid methodological framework that allows for a more comprehensive view of … Continue reading Latest publications, August 2018

The state bias in the analysis of peacebuilding and violence

I would like to go back here to one of the topics that I briefly mentioned in a previous post while discussing taboos of violence. At the time I stated that in the analysis of peacebuilding there was a tendency to privilege the violence that affects the state and its survival. The state bias in peacebuilding studies is present in many ways. For starters, the very understanding of the concept of peacebuilding is moslty linked to the idea of the termination of an armed conflict (usually defined as a conflict where at least one of the parties is a state). … Continue reading The state bias in the analysis of peacebuilding and violence

Peace Studies and the analysis of power

Recently I have been trying to map the existing literature in Peace Studies (PS) dealing with power. While there is a lot written on power in Social Sciences in general, as well as in International Relations (IR), that is not necessarily the case in PS. I started my research having a look at the Journal of Peace Research, a key reference in the field. While the first editorial of the journal (1964) sets out the many ways in which Peace Research (PR) rejects basic assumptions that dominated IR at the time, there is nothing specific about power. Also, and interestingly, … Continue reading Peace Studies and the analysis of power

Grasping local perceptions in the analysis of peacebuilding

Dealing with subjective aspects in the analysis of peacebuilding has become increasingly important. The growth of ethnographic studies in peacebuilding, pushed by the ‘local turn’, has contributed to a profound rethinking of peacebuilding efficacy, highlighting the need for researchers to engage with the subjective aspects that compound local actions and reactions to internationally-led peace activities. Starting from the premise that peacebuilding is experiential (Millar, 2014) and that, in order to understand the ‘other’ it is crucial that a platform of communication is well established, in this post would like to explore a couple of challenges related to the process of … Continue reading Grasping local perceptions in the analysis of peacebuilding

Review of ‘An Ethnographic Approach to Peacebuilding’

Discussing subjective aspects of peace, violence and power is as fascinating as challenging. I recently finished reading a book from Gearoid Millar, An Ethnographic Approach to Peacebuilding. Understanding Local Experiences in Transitional States, which reminded me of many of the processes that I lived during my own fieldwork in Mozambique back in 2012/2013 and which, eventually, led me to dive into my current research, focusing on subjective aspects of peace. As I really enjoyed this book – and I definitely recommend it to anyone planning to go on fieldwork in peacebuilding settings (in fact, I wish it came out before … Continue reading Review of ‘An Ethnographic Approach to Peacebuilding’

Defining taboos of violence: who sets the threshold of legitimacy?

Following up on my previous post, I would like to discuss today the construction of taboos surrounding violence, or, in other words ‘why some forms of violence are regarded as ‘legitimate’ while others are portrayed as ‘illegitimate’?’ Just to make it clear, please note that I am not apologetic to any kind of violence. I would rather live in a violence-free world. But I don’t, so it seems important to open the question of how violence is classified and why. Let me start this reflection with a quick story. Back in 2012, while I was conducting a focus group in … Continue reading Defining taboos of violence: who sets the threshold of legitimacy?