This article situates peace research in the messy ambiguities of everyday encounters between foreign peacebuilders and local populations in post-conflict environments. It suggests that anthropology allows for moving the liberal/hybrid peace debate beyond its immediate boundaries – a focus on governance systems and the intervention itself – towards a more comprehensive examination of mundane experiences in shared places and their possible influence on peacebuilding processes. Specifically, this article draws on ethnographic fieldwork in post-conflict and post-intervention Solomon Islands and on anthropological research on the importance of food for identity formation, sociality and customary peacebuilding in Melanesia. By examining non-elite Solomon Islanders’ perceptions of foreign interveners’ apparent rejection of Solomon Islands foods, the article shows how everyday ‘food-based’ encounters between foreign peacebuilders and Solomon Islanders affect non-elite Solomon Islanders’ confidence in long-term peace and more broadly their value and status in the ‘modern’, global, liberal political economy.
- foreign intervention
- Solomon Islands