Global efforts to rebuild societies ruined by violent conflict are influenced first and foremost by the type of knowledge produced for and about these societies. Since the inception of statebuilding studies as a scholarly field, knowledge production for conflict-affected societies has been based predominantly on Western epistemologies – which are shaped by particular cultures of thought, self-perpetuated epistemological superiority, and codified academic practices. This introductory chapter explores a fundamental question: can the local speak, and if so, what does it say about international statebuilding? The chapter offers a nuanced overview of existing literature on the local turn in statebuilding studies to situate the themes and purposes of this book in wider scholarly debates. It argues that the added value of promoting local voices is that it pluralises our knowledge about statebuilding and brings in geo-epistemological positionalities, which are aspects overlooked in peace and conflict studies. The chapter then offers a detailed overview of each contribution to this edited volume and the contribution to wider scholarly debates.