This article explores how pure mediators make peace without using political, military, or economic leverage. It argues that informality helps mediators establish and build relationships that make it possible for the disputing parties to receive their assistance, information, and suggestions. The research uses case studies and first-hand interviews to explore beneath the institutional and strategic level of analysis and finds that informality manifests in peacemaking as informal people, language, time, and space. The findings also indicate that informality in peace processes often appeared organically to achieve positive results by default rather than design. The research has implications for the study and practice of international mediation, particularly for those who mediate without power. This research highlights the need for researchers and practitioners to conceptualize peace processes as a mutually reinforcing system comprising a formal and an informal layer and peacemaking as a team effort.



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