2019 United Nations peacekeeping locally: Enabling conflict resolution, reducing communal violence. Journal of Conflict Resolution Online First

Abstract: United Nations peacekeeping operations (UN PKOs) increasingly engage with local communities to support peace processes in war-torn countries. Yet, while existing research tends to focus on the coercive and state-building functions of UN PKOs, their concrete local activities with community leaders and populations remain, empirically and theoretically, understudied. Thus, this study investigates how peacekeepers’ community-based intergroup dialogue activities influence communal violence. It argues that facilitating dialogue between different communal identity-based groups locally can revive intergroup coordination and diminish negative biases against other groups, thereby reducing the risk of communal conflict escalation. This argument is tested using a novel data set of intergroup dialogue activities organized by the UN PKO in Côte d’Ivoire across 107 departments from October 2011 to May 2016. Bivariate probit and matching address the nonrandom assignment of these interventions. The analyses provide robust evidence that the UN PKO mitigated communal violence by organizing intergroup dialogues.

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