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Attitudes for Peace: Postconflict Public Opinion

What do people think about the institutions adopted to build peace after civil war? The short answer is simply: we do not know. The ‘Attitudes for peace’ research project addresses this shortcoming by conducting public opinion surveys in three postconflict countries (Guatemala, Nepal, and Northern Ireland), asking about ordinary citizens’ thoughts and feelings about different peacebuilding strategies.

Queqchí people carrying their loved one's remains after an exhumation in Cambayal in Alta Verapaz department, Guatemala
Queqchí people carrying their loved one's remains after an exhumation in Cambayal in Alta Verapaz department, Guatemala. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Focusing on the interplay between institutions, violent conflict and individual attitudes, the project aims to offer insight into the microdynamics of violent conflict, and, in particular, the individual level determinants of postwar peace. Better knowledge of ordinary people's support for postconflict political institutions, strategies implemented to end war, and political violence, provides useful guidance to policy makers, NGOs, and others on how to adapt peacebuilding strategies to local needs and attitudes, ultimately increasing the chances of building stable peace in postconflict societies.

This project aims to investigate two key relationships: (1) How do different peacebuilding strategies influence institutional trust in postwar societies? (2) What is the relation between support for postwar institutions and peace? Central to both questions is the dynamics between the institutions engineered to build peace – the peacebuilding strategies – and citizens' support for these. We argue that variations in peacebuilding strategies affect how people perceive these institutions, and that these perceptions, in turn, are closely related to whether people will support or participate in violent opposition against the government in the future.

Key Factors

Project duration

01/03/2015 - 01/12/2017






Norwegian Research Council (The project site at the Norwegian Research Council)



Public Support for Pease Agreements: The Cases of Guatemala, Nepal, and Northern Ireland (PRIO Policy Brief, Conflict Trends, 5, 2016)