“Highly interesting, conceptually and theoretically demanding, with admirable empirical details and great rigor as well as creative, plausible praxeological conclusions, being adequately clever and careful at the same time”, determined Harald Müller, former Executive Director of PRIF and member of the Ernst-Otto-Czempiel-Award jury. “In an exemplary manner, Bräuchler’s work indicates that ethnology/anthropology should be an integral element of peace research.”
Over a period of ten years, Birgit Bräuchler conducted field research in the Indonesian province Maluku and observed the ethnographic peace process of this society, which was disrupted by religiously motivated violence. Embedded in a striking plea for an ethnologically informed field research, her impressive findings on peace building processes in Indonesia are being described in her recently awarded book.
Bräuchler’s monograph focuses on the cultural dimension of reconciliation which she states as essential for the reintegration of societies having experienced violence over a long period of time. Her study accomplishes two things: On the one hand, the author provides an empirically dense analysis of Maluku’s reconciliation process and explains, what conceptions of peace and reconciliation the local society has developed. She further highlights the importance of revitalizing traditions. On the other hand, Bräuchler detects a deficit in peace research and the praxeology of peacebuilding: The cultural turn in peace research, as the author claims, has lead to a shift in ascribing “the culture” and “the local” growing importance, leading to the fact that the “local culture” has become more prominent as a means for peace in political science, legal studies and for practitioners. Yet, a precise notion of what “the culture” and “the local” means does neither exists among the dominant disciplines nor among the practitioners using these terms. With her ethnographical study, Bräuchler provides an essential contribution to the cultural turn. She advertises an ethnographically informed understanding of the particular local conditions and understandings of law to promote lasting peace processes.
“The Cultural Dimension of Peace” is thus a critical contention on widely used concepts of culture, tradition and the local in peace processes and a plea for the ethnological perspective “from below”, which could and should complement the interdisciplinary peace research.
Dr. habil. Birgit Bräuchler is a senior lecturer in anthropology at the School of Social Sciences, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She conducts research on “Indigenous media and conflict transformation in Indonesia”. Previously, she was a research associate at the Institute for Ethnology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt, where she also acted as a visiting professor.
The award ceremony will take place on 22nd June 2016 in Frankfurt as part of PRIF’s Annual Conference “Norms in the transit zone: Global scripts, local practices”. Further information on the conference can be found here.
Since 2007, The Ernst-Otto-Czempiel-Award, in honor of PRIF’s former director, is given for the best postdoctoral monograph published in the field of peace research during the last two years. It is endowed with 5.000.- Euros and thus one of the highest-paid scientific awards in the area of peace research in Germany. The winner is selected by a jury, consisting of Prof Dr. Eva-Senghaas-Knobloch, Prof Dr. Dirk Messner and Prof Dr. Harald Müller.
Press release on the foundation of the Award
Birgit Bräuchler 2015: "The Cultural Dimension of Peace: Decentralization and Reconciliation in Indonesia", (Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies, hg. von Oliver P. Richmond). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-137-50434-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-137-50435-7
Information of the Palgrave Publisher: http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137504340