The Distinction of Peace

 Who becomes a peacebuilder and for which reasons? What kind of education and professional qualification  do you need to work for the United Nations, the OSCE or an NGO in a post-conflict situation? What kind of organisational and normative culture has this international aid activity produced? What does the sociology of the people who do peacebuilding tell us about what peacebuilding is? These are questions I am answering in my book ‘The Distinction of Peace’. Through a variety of methods (surveys, in-depth interviews, participant observation, prosopography, network analysis, discourse analysis) I analyse who becomes a peacebuilder and identify the social, cultural and political selection process that underly careers in this vast field of international aid.

The book has been reviewed in International Sociology, International Studies Review, Perspectives on Politics, International Peacekeeping, Journal of Intervention and Peacebuilding, HSoz-Net, Choices and H-Net.

It is available as open access book here.

From the first page

“This book is not about peace. This book is about the social structures of power in globalization processes. Peacebuilding is a globalization process, and an extremely important one, as it provides the fundamental raison d’être of the United Nations system. The people, organisations, institutions, and agencies, that claim to build peace in foreign lands, exist and act on the grounds of specific patterns of power and domination in the world. 

Knowing of and about peace, doing peace, and building peace are practices of distinction in global processes. This book dissects how these power patterns shape a social interaction field, namely peacebuilding. I argue that peacebuilding exists because it has become for a sufficiently large number of people and institutions with sufficiently important authority an unquestioned way of political action in the world and, on a more individual level, a way of making a living (in the full sense of the word).”