Article by Dylan O’Driscoll.
Taking as a starting point the conviction that everyday interactions carry the potential to be either conflictual or peaceful, this article examines people’s everyday behaviour in the deeply divided city of Kirkuk, Iraq. Using the historic bazaar in Kirkuk city as a site of analysis, and through a research survey of 511 people, it focuses on interactions between Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen. The article draws on Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic capital and takes an intersectional approach to analyse the everyday interactions in the bazaar to create a better understanding of the role of space and privilege. The results demonstrate that for the most part, at the everyday level people carry out acts of everyday peace rather than conflict. However, when everyday conflict does occur, those with the highest symbolic capital are the most likely actors. Additionally, although gender does influence people’s actions, ethnosectarian identity has greater influence in many areas related to everyday peace and conflict. On a practical level, the article argues that such an understanding can connect better to policymaking and peacebuilding as it can point to where and how peacebuilders should focus their attention in order to promote and enhance peace within people’s everyday lives.