Material Deprivation and Human Wealth: The Importance of the Local in Peacebuilding

Lee nuestra investigación publicada por Peace Studies Journal en el 2021, titulada: Material Deprivation and Human Wealth:
The Importance of the Local in Peacebuilding
. Elaborada por Mauricio Meschoulam, Michelle Kawa, Tania Naanous, Sofía Quintanilla, Luisa Castillo, Stefany Rocha, Fernanda Águila, Armando Van Rankin, Arturo Duque, Paola Zuart, Arianne Dalma, Fernanda Baños y Shannon Kenny.


Mexico is one of the least peaceful countries in the world. Peace, however, is not limited to
the absence of violence for it includes many other aspects related to attitudes, institutions,
and structures in a society (IEP, 2021). In this regard, the municipality of Ecatepec in the
State of Mexico is an illuminating case study not only for the absence of conditions for
structural peace, but also for the impact this has on the perceptions and conceptions of its
residents. This paper presents the results of qualitative research carried out in Ecatepec at
the request of a dialogue group for peacebuilding. A total of 31 in-depth interviews were
conducted for exploring the perceptions, conceptions, visions, and concerns of a sample of
Ecatepec residents regarding issues such as security, absence of peace, and possibilities for
peacebuilding in the community, and how peacebuilding is envisioned at a local level. The
interviews were fully transcribed and analyzed in detail using the qualitative NVivo
software; subsequently, they were coded using preexisting and emerging categories. The
results revealed a high level of awareness of the structural factors underlying general and
gender-based violence; they also showed the high impact of participants’ own experiences,
and those of people emotionally and physically close to them, in the social construction of
perceptions about high insecurity and about what takes place in the municipality and
country. The findings highlight the relevance of local policy, as well as the impact of
citizen participation and organization in the municipality’s communities due to the
perceived neglect by authorities, and the need to find support and resilience mechanisms in
the absence of basic elements to survive daily life with dignity. Several of the issues that
emerged during the research have global relevance—for example, distrust of institutions.
Therefore, the findings contribute to a better understanding of how peace breaks down and
how it can be built.

Foto sacada de: