Ordinary citizens typically bear the brunt of the destruction and violence in civil wars. At the same time, their engagement in and acceptance of peace processes is often a crucial ingredient for sustainable peace, while their lives continue to be shaped by the legacies of war long after weapons have fallen silent. Despite the important roles citizens play in waging war and making peace, much of what we know about peace processes in civil wars centers on the interests of elite actors and the groups that they lead. As a result, we have only very few theories and even less rigorous empirical evidence that systematically explores citizens’ perceptions of and roles in civil war peace processes and their aftermath.
Together with Caroline Hartzell and Martin Ottmann, I therefore explore the actions and perceptions of citizens in the different stages of peace processes. After organizing workshops in Birmingham and Austin and themed panels at IPSA, ISA, and APSA, we are currently working on a proposal for a special issue.
Felix Haass, Caroline Hartzell, Martin Ottmann
Citizens in Peace Processes
Journal of Conflict Resolution
, Online First,
Citizen engagement in and support for peace processes have been deemed important for sustainable peace after civil wars. Yet much of what we know about peace processes in civil wars centers on the interests of elite actors. This special feature aims to advance a research agenda focusing on citizens in peace processes to address this mismatch. In the introduction to the special feature, we first present empirical evidence situating citizens in relation to civil war peace processes. We then trace the current state of the literature on the roles of citizens in peace processes. Following that, we introduce a conceptual framework designed to improve scholarly analysis of the political behavior of citizens in peace processes. We also locate the individual contributions to the special feature within the framework in order to demonstrate its utility and as a means of helping to identify directions for future research.