What do peacebuilding interventions look like to the people involved?

Table of contents

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Seeing like an intervention
Chapter 2: Fieldwork beyond intervention
Chapter 3: Subjects and effects of non-formal education
Chapter 4: Beyond intervention: NFE, unemployment, and resistance
Chapter 5: Governing agriculture through ‘Europeanisation’
Chapter 6: Beyond intervention: Land, investment, and resistance


Studies of statebuilding and peacebuilding have been criticized for their disregard of people living the consequences of intervention projects. Beyond International Intervention takes on the task of engaging with spaces and peoples not usually present in IR scholarship to rethink the very concept of “intervention” by paying close attention to how people actually experience and make sense of those efforts. In particular, the book offers a detailed engagement with ethnographic fieldwork in two policy areas in Serbia—agricultural policy and non-formal youth education. 

By engaging with subjects, the book not only enhances our understanding of intervention, but also uncovers the limitations of the concept. Katarina Kušić argues that the concept limits what we can observe and theorize, and it prevents researchers from engaging with the people living in spaces of intervention as coeval political subjects. As an alternative, she proposes to foreground improvement over “intervention.” This reorientation enables researchers to trace hierarchies beyond the local/international dichotomy, expands fields of visibility beyond those prescribed by interventions themselves, and seriously considers the contradictions at the heart of liberalism.

Katarina Kušić is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Vienna.