Talking Peace at the Edge of War: Local Civil Society Narratives and Reconciliation in Eastern Ukraine
Keywords:Ukraine, conflict, reconciliation and dialogue, civil society, peace narratives
AbstractScholarly works on Ukraine conflict and its resolution tend to focus on the role of states or international organizations. Yet, more and more local civil society organizations (CSOs) are embracing reconciliation as a new agenda in the post-Euromaidan period. In this article, we analyze the role of local Ukrainian CSOs in fostering dialogue and reconciliation in Eastern Ukraine. Research on sub-state actors as legitimate agency in peacebuilding in Eastern Ukraine remains scarce. By drawing on the “everyday peace” perspective, we show that local bottom-up narratives of the conflict differ greatly from the top-down narratives of states and international organizations. Whereas the latter tend to reconfirm the status quo of the conflict or the (neo-)liberal economic approach to peace, local CSOs promote “rehumanizing the other,” which constitutes a quintessential process in achieving sustainable peace in Eastern Ukraine.
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