Since the early 2000s, the “local turn” has thoroughly transformed the field of peacebuilding. The European Union (EU) policy discourse on peacebuilding has also aligned with this trend, with an increasing number of EU policy statements insisting on the importance of “the local.” However, most studies on EU peacebuilding still adopt a top-down approach and focus on institutions, capabilities, and decision-making at the EU level. This special issue contributes to the literature by focusing on bottom-up and local dynamics of EU peacebuilding. After outlining the rationale and the scope of the special issue, this article discusses the local turn in international peacebuilding and identifies several interrelated concepts relevant to theorizing the role of the local, specifically those of effectiveness, ownership, and resistance. In the conclusion, we summarize the key contributions of this special issue and suggest some avenues for further research.



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