Grasping subjectivities of power in the analysis of peacebuilding

Roberta Maschietto (CES)

November 27, 2018, 10h00

Keynes Room, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra


For over a decade now, there has been a significant increase in the number of ethnographic studies in the field of peacebuilding. This trend was a response to the overall assessment of peacebuilding and was fostered by the need to better understand the (lack of) efficiency of international engagement in the long-term prospects of peace. Whereas such approaches have contributed to a better understanding of the power dynamics involved in peacebuilding, particularly between international and local actors, and the different interpretations of success and failure across different actors, there are still many areas that need further investigation in order to refine the assessment of peacebuilding and which beg important methodological questions.

This paper is concerned particularly with the subjective aspects of power in the context of peacebuilding and how they can be grasped, interpreted and better understood in peacebuilding studies. Firstly, it traces how power has been studied in the Peace Studies literature. Secondly, it explores the methodological aspects involved in the analysis of subjectivities of power, by drawing on a selected literature from Translation Studies and Social Psychology. Finally, it proposes a research framework to be used in the analysis of power subjectivities in peacebuilding.

Short bio: Roberta Holanda Maschietto is a post-doctoral researcher at CES. Her research focuses on the study of local understandings of peacebuilding reforms. She has a PhD in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford. Her thesis, concluded in 2015, discussed the concept of 'empowerment' and included the analysis of peacebuilding in Mozambique, as well as a detailed examination of a national initiative to promote local empowerment through credit concession and the engagement of the local councils. Roberta has a BA and a MA in International Relations, from the University of Brasília. Between 2005 and 2009 she was a lecturer in International Relations at the Institute for Superior Education in Brasília (IESB). She also took part in several research projects, in particular related to contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. Her current research interests include peacebuilding processes, empowerment and local ownership in peacebuilding scenarios as well as the long term-effects of such processes at the level of the everyday.

Activity within the Doctoral Programme in International Politics and Conflict Resolution [see programme of lectures]