Everyday peace and conflict: (un)privileged interactions in Kirkuk, Iraq

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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Taking as a starting point the conviction that everyday interactions carry the potential to be either conflictual or peaceful, this article examines people’s everyday behaviour in the deeply divided city of Kirkuk, Iraq. Using the historic bazaar in Kirkuk city as a site of analysis, and through a research survey of 511 people, it focuses on interactions between Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen. The article draws on Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic capital and takes an intersectional approach to analyse the everyday interactions in the bazaar to create a better understanding of the role of space and privilege. The results demonstrate that for the most part, at the everyday level people carry out acts of everyday peace rather than conflict. However, when everyday conflict does occur, those with the highest symbolic capital are the most likely actors. Additionally, although gender does influence people’s actions, ethnosectarian identity has greater influence in many areas related to everyday peace and conflict. On a practical level, the article argues that such an understanding can connect better to policymaking and peacebuilding as it can point to where and how peacebuilders should focus their attention in order to promote and enhance peace within people’s everyday lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2227-2246
Number of pages20
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way


This article builds on the author?s earlier SIPRI policy paper ?Building Everyday Peace in Kirkuk, Iraq: The Potential of Locally Focused Interventions?. The author thanks Dr Birte Vogel, Dr Magdalena Mikulak, Khogir Wirya, and Shivan Fazil for their feedback, as well as Kokar for their assistance in conducting the survey. All errors remain the author?s responsibility alone. This research is a publication of the Conflict Research Programme hosted at the London School of Economics. This material was funded by UK aid from the UK government through the Conflict Research Fellowship, managed by the Social Science Research Council; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government?s views and/or official policies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • conflict
  • Everyday
  • Iraq
  • Kirkuk
  • local peacebuilding
  • peace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development

Institute themes

  • Peace and Conflict


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