Taking love and care seriously in peace and conflict studies

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Abstract

In this episode of the Visualising Peace podcast, student Otilia Meden interviews Dr Roxani Krystalli, a lecturer in International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Roxani's work covers a broad range of topics, from storytelling in politics to the presence of care, beauty and joy in times of war. She applies feminist approaches to peace and conflict studies, and brings over a decade of experience as a practitioner in humanitarian action, transitional justice, and peacebuilding to her academic work.

Roxani is in the final stages of writing a book entitled Good Victims, in which she examines how humanitarian practitioners, transitional justice professionals, peacebuilders, and people who identify as victims of violence in the wake of war construct and contest the politics and hierarchies of victimhood. She also studies the politics of nature and place, researching how different landscapes can illuminate and shape people's experiences of peace and conflict. Together with her colleague, Dr. Philipp Schulz from the University of Bremen, she is embarking on a major new study called 'A different kind of war story: centring love and care in peace and conflict studies'. They have outlined their approach in this recent article, where they identify their key research question as follows: 'How can centering practices of love and care illuminate different pathways for understanding the remaking of worlds in the wake of violence?'

During the podcast, Roxani explains her reasons for embarking on this important work and what difference she hopes it will make to how we understand and approach war and peace. She also reflects on the value of taking love and care into account in broader political contexts, emphasising how vital loving and caring practices are to all humans. Drawing on her experience of peacebuilding work on the ground, Roxani highlights the subtle acts of care and love that regularly occur in areas affected by conflict. Despite their recurring importance in everyday life, little attention gets paid in peacebuilding theory to the powerful impact which they can have. In noting this, Roxani invites us to think carefully about the voices and experiences of peace and conflict that often get marginalised, and who we should consciously make space for in future conversations. She suggests that by looking beyond conventional academia, we can pay attention to, and recognise different perceptions of love, care, and peace, which is an essential aspect of taking love and care seriously in peacebuilding.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherVisualising War
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2023

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