Preserving the Everyday: Pre-Political Agency in Peacebuilding Theory

Gearoid Millar* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Quite a lot of recent peacebuilding scholarship has deployed the concept of ‘the everyday’. In an extension of the local turn’s emphasis on agency and resistance, much of this scholarship interprets the everyday as inherently a site of politics. It does so either by interpreting every act (no matter how motivated) as an agentic political act, or by equating agentic political acts (at the local level) with the quotidian activities which define the everyday. This paper argues, however, that representing the everyday in this way interprets both forms of activity in ways which have critical implications for peacebuilding theory, because both moves inadvertently strip everyday acts of the emergent creativity and innovation inherent to ‘everyday-ness’. Alternative understandings of and engagement with different forms of agency would encourage peace scholars to acknowledge the overtly political nature of peace projects and so to reserve ‘the everyday’ label for pre-political forms of action which may contribute to peace, but in a more unintentional, organic or emergent fashion. This is not to argue that everyday acts are a-political or non-political, but only that they do not have political motivations and are not themselves products of conscious will to power, or even to peace itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-325
Number of pages16
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number3
Early online date5 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • The Everyday
  • Peacebuilding
  • Agency
  • Local Turn
  • Pre-Political
  • Emergence
  • peacebuilding
  • emergence
  • pre-political
  • the everyday
  • resistance
  • local turn


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