Measuring Peace from the Bottom Up with the Pasto Indigenous Group in Nariño, Colombia

Measuring Peace from the Bottom Up with the Pasto Indigenous Group in Nariño, Colombia

By Naomi Levy, Santa Clara University and Pamina Firchow, Brandeis University

This paper describes a pilot project that employs collaborative methodology to produce a bottom-up barometer of peace for the Pasto Indigenous group in Nariño, Colombia. The project builds on the Everyday Peace Indicators (EPI) pioneering methodology to source indicators of peace at the community level using focus group discussions and indicator-verification community meetings. The very nature of EPI, which allows for a detailed localized picture, prevents this methodology from saying much about the wider context. Yet many research questions in political science entail regional or national comparisons, and thus require a higher level of analysis. In these circumstances, EPI’s strength can become a limitation. This project aims to extend the applicability of bottom-up measures of peace by including local voices in the measurement of peace at the meso level. The paper discusses the tensions entailed and lessons learned in developing a methodology by which a set of locally-sourced indicators can be applied in a wider set of communities.

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