Roger Mac Ginty is a Professor in Defence, Development and Diplomacy in our School of Government and International Affairs.
His 2021 book, “Everyday Peace: How So-Called Ordinary People Can Disrupt Violent Conflict” won this year’s Ernst-Otto Czempiel Award. The prestigious prize is awarded by the Leibniz Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) for the best monograph in the field of international peace studies in the previous two years. We asked Roger to tell us more about his work.
I am interested in how so-called ordinary people get on with life in conflict-affected societies. Despite conflict and tension, they still have to take care of the kids, find medicine for granny, and try to earn a living. All of this requires immense skill and coping mechanisms. My research agenda is trying to understand this tactical agency.
I grew up in Northern Ireland amid a low-level but very bitter civil war. Reflecting on my childhood, I am amazed by the skills that my parents deployed to bring up a family and navigate through dangerous and tense times. An academic career is a journey and it has taken some time to get here.
I am a methodological magpie. I drew from anthropology, sociology, economics, history, feminism, and even nursing studies. But much of my thinking has been informed by the Everyday Peace Indicators, a system I devised whereby communities in conflict-affected areas produce indicators of peace, security and change in their own lives. That kept me grounded in real life scenarios.
War and conflict are indeed near constants. But so too are development, innovation and human progress. More people on our planet live in peace than in war but we seem to be in a hinge moment. Coups across Africa, tension between the US and China, wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the climate crisis mean that we need to be ferocious in speaking up for peace.