Local peace and contemporary conflict: Constructing commonality and exclusion during war in Afghanistan

Daniel Karell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the “local turn” in international peacekeeping and the emphasis on community-centered development during the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it remains poorly understood how local actors—both foreign and indigenous—shape local-level wartime settings. This article explores the processes and consequences of one military unit's efforts to “win hearts and minds” in Afghanistan during 2012–13. The first portion of the analysis examines original textual data with a novel methodological approach depicting the unit's perceptions of commonalities between itself and local actors. The second portion explores the consequences with data from original interviews with residents of southern Afghanistan in 2014–15. The findings suggest that achieving a local peace can be undermined by military and development actors' own perception of the local community. The article concludes with a discussion of how sociological studies of micro-settings between actors can contribute to research on conflict and wartime development, as well as how the sociological study of war can further develop by disaggregating conflict settings and tracing the social construction of wartime socio-political landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-97
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Afghanistan
  • Development
  • Local-level
  • Textual analysis
  • War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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