From Expert to Experiential Knowledge: Exploring the Inclusion of Local Experiences in Understanding Violence in Conflict


Julian, Rachel, Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, and Robin Redhead. 2019. “From Expert to Experiential Knowledge: Exploring the Inclusion of Local Experiences in Understanding Violence in Conflict.” Peacebuilding 7 (2): 210–25.

Authors: Rachel Julian, Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Robin Redhead


Critical peace and conflict scholars argue that to understand fully conflict dynamics and possibilities for peace research should incorporate ‘the local’. Yet this important conceptual shift is bound by western concepts, while empirical explorations of ‘the local’ privilege outside experts over mechanisms for inclusion. This article explores how an epistemology drawing on feminist approaches to conflict analysis can help to redirect the focus from expert to experiential knowledge, thereby also demonstrating the limits of expert knowledge production on ‘the local’. In order to illustrate our arguments and suggest concrete methods of putting them into research practice, we draw on experiences of the ‘Raising Silent Voices’ project in Myanmar, which relied on feminist and arts-based methods to explore the experiential knowledge of ordinary people living amidst violent conflict in Rakhine and Kachin states.

Keywords: feminism, local knowledge, experiential knowledge, conflict analysis, arts-based methods, violent conflict

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2019

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