This week I’m hanging out at the International Studies Association’s 55th Annual Convention in Toronto. It’s the mother of all conferences in our field. 6,000 of the brightest minds in international relations all here to hawk their intellectual wares, all seeking an audience for their very important work.
We’re two days in and two to go, and so far so very good. I don’t know if its the theme of the conference (spaces and places), but there’s a lot of focus on local peacebuilding. Roger MacGinty and Pamina Firchow presented their work on everyday peace indicators this morning, a great project that puts local people in the driving seat by inviting them to identify their own indicators and then testing these through survey work, using mobile phone apps and other technology.
Mary Kaldor, with her customary brilliance, passion and panache, argued that traditional peace processes simply allow armed groups to entrench themselves in post-conflict power-sharing. So peace processes end up giving international and legal legitimacy to agreements that are little more than mafia truces. To the victors the spoils, except the victors are the men with guns and it is we, the unarmed, who are the spoils. We need a new inclusive logic for ending violence. Touché, Mary.
This is all great news for me because I am a true believer in local peacebuilding. I am also a believer in believers, but that’s another story for another day.
Perhaps the most exciting development so far – I’ve raided the convention hall and come away with all kinds of goodies (free books from the International Centre on Nonviolent Conflict – heaven!). Having slept on it, I’ve decided a second raid is in order, so successful was the first. I can’t ignore the gentle call of orphan books in need of a home.
I’m going to give some of these books away in celebration of finally getting myself into gear to start a blog. Share the love and all that. If you’re interested in books on non-violent resistance and protest movements then leave a reply and I’ll send books to some of you wonderful people, my very first blog readers.
As you might imagine, I’m a bit like a pig in shit this week. Intellectual shit. Ahh.
Categories: Out and about