Understanding the impact of geographies and space on the possibilities of peace activism

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Current peace research has provided scholars with a range of conceptualisations of what peace is. Further, there is a substantial body of literature on the processes used to build peace—the how of peacebuilding. However, there is little research that examines the question of where peace and peacebuilding occurs and how these spaces shape the possibilities of non-state actors to achieve their objectives. This article makes a theoretical and empirical contribution to the emerging debate by sketching out the concept of peace spaces and applying it to the United Nations controlled Buffer Zone in Cyprus, the geographical home of inter-communal peacebuilding. To determine how geographies impact on the possibilities of non-state peacebuilding actors, the article focuses on three elements, specifically, on how the physical space impacts on a) inclusion/ exclusion of participants b) protection/ control through elite actors and c) its influence on the discourses and solutions that can be imagined. The article finds that local and international actors alike make a clear connection between the physical space and ideological viewpoints, which has both enabling and restricting implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-448
Number of pages18
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Agency
  • Cyprus
  • civil society
  • peacebuilding
  • space

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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