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Abstract

Following acknowledgements on the 'confusing' ontological status of peacebuilding, this article proposes to rethink ontologically the domain as a discursive formation encompassing theory on, and practices of, peacebuilding. The first section discusses the notion of discursive formation, explains how this ontology allows for a more elaborated understanding of the field, and presents three components of peacebuilding as a discursive field: peace visions, peace strategies and programming components. In the following sections, the economic, liberal, critical and feminist visions and strategies for peace are fleshed out, emphasising their tensions, limitations and contradictions. In particular, the article illustrates how the differences in peace visions generate silos and contribute to a highly gendersegregated field. In a final section, building upon research in Indonesia (Ambon), the article discusses elements of the programmatic agenda in peacebuilding. The question of the 'local turn' is analysed to problematise its gender-blindness, as well as its implicit reproduction of hierarchisation between the international and the local, fuelling and reinforcing power relationships. The article concludes by pointing to some potential areas for synergies between different discursive formations of peacebuilding, which could contribute to overcome the theoretical/practical, problem-solving/critical, mainstream/gender tensions in the discursive formation of peacebuilding.

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