Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 December 2020
In this chapter we evaluate not only how different paradigms approach the topic of peacebuilding but also how they compare and contrast with one another. This essay suggests that despite some clear incompatibilities, realism, liberalism, constructivism, cosmopolitanism, critical theory, public policy, and localism share some common ideas about how to pragmatically resolve conflicts, including focusing on the participants of these conflicts, developing locally grounded solutions, maintaining long-term commitments, and focusing on comprehensive approaches to peace. The main divide, we suggest, is between understandings of power in practice, with the more monist approaches positing that local actions come from structures that are not easily perceived. This critique, however, is minimized by the reality that all of the paradigms agree that peace cannot be sustained without both tempering the prerogatives of power with ideas of equality and consulting local actors. We conclude this chapter with comments about the benefits a cross-paradigmatic approach to peacebuilding has from methodological and theoretical standpoints.