Dr. Catherine Goetze
Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex
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The aim of the project... ...was to better understand who works in peacebuilding missions, with which motivations and beliefs, and how the sociology of peacebuilding reflects wider power structures in the world.

Peacebuilding as socio-professional field

The research project draws on the sociological concepts of Pierre Bourdieu, notably his notions of 'field' and 'habitus'. Bourdieu understands power as a quality of social relations. His 'thinking tools' allow analysing the web of social relations and how actors position themselves within a social field. In this case, the social field is constituted by activities and practices of peacebuidling as the actors themselves define them (and struggle over those definitions). Not everyone can become a peacebuilder, not everyone wants to become a peacebuilders, and not everyone has the same status as peacebuilder within the field. By understanding the dynamics of the field and the particular qualities a peacebuilder is expected to have, it is possible to undrestand the power structures of peacebuilding as well as of larger systems of global governance.
Methodology The project used a multiple method approach. In order to better understand the dynamics of peacebuilding as socio-professional field, I used a historical approach and network analysis; I used prosopography to analyse the educational and professional trajectories of peacebuilders.In order to understand the habitus of peacebuilders I undertook two waves of a questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews and extensive hermeneutic research of memoirs, biographies, auto-biographies and other secondary materials. On the right are some examples of the findings.
The book
The monograph 'The Distinction of Peace' is forthcoming with The University of Michigan Press.


Political values (2012 survey)

Most peacebuilders who participated in the surveys had a Masters degree or higher (here 2012 survey)


Commonly, peacebuilders believe in the meaningfulness of what they are doing and share their mission's core values (2012 survey)