When violent conflict flares up, forced migration often follows. Ethnographic data shows that forced migrants remain attached to their places of origin and often express a desire to return once conflict has abated, be it after weeks, months, or years. Conversely, peacebuilders in the homeland have not effectively integrated displaced persons within their strategic programming. This is cause for concern considering the literature connecting the collapse of fragile peace to ‘refugee spoilers.’ There is a critical gap in peacebuilders’ commitment to understanding refugees’ needs and claims, and the implications these pose on peace stability following repatriation. This article argues that ethnography of refugees still living in exile can generate rich datasets useful to the development of peacebuilding programming. More than this, it proposes a methodology — ethnographic mapping — that can collect both spatial (maps) and narrative (descriptions) information in tandem and across cultural groups living in refugee camps.
Parent, N., 2020. From Exile to Homeland Return: Ethnographic Mapping to Inform Peacebuilding from Afar. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 9(1), p.7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.772
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