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International Relations Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
by
Ben Boulton, John Heathershaw

Introduction

In the contemporary post-9/11 era, in which the implications of the terms security and threat have been transformed, the theory and practice of postconflict peace building throughout the world have assumed new form and meaning. The features of this shift, which can trace its origins to the termination of the Cold War, are perceptible in a new form of peace building that is predicated upon individual rights (whether articulated in the political, social, or economic sense of the term) and needs (i.e., justice, emancipation). Both elements function within a broader, more comprehensive peace-building strategy that is addressed to the political, economic, social, and even psychosocial or cultural causes of conflict (see UN Reports and Broader Debates). In this manner, peace building is increasingly conceptualized as a strategy that integrates divergent modes of intervention into a comprehensive approach to conflict resolution. This ambitious agenda starkly contrasts with traditional practices of peacekeeping, which were instead predicated upon a much more reticent and restrained interpretation of both conflict and external intervention (see Defining Peace Building and Macro-Level Approaches). Despite the divergence between the processes, both peacekeeping and peace building can be bracketed under the phrase peace operations—a rubric that encompasses UN activities that simultaneously function under the umbrellas of peace making, peacekeeping, and postconflict peace building. Whereas they were conventionally directed toward different stages of the conflict life cycle, there has been a convergence of peace building’s sectors and tasks, necessitated by the complexities of the breakdown/implosion of states. Peace building is therefore increasingly defined by a complexity that arises from the integration of previously discrete spheres of engagement (including peacekeeping and peace making) into an encompassing modus operandi (see UN Reports). This bibliographic review initially distinguishes between the macro and micro-levels of peace building and seeks to demonstrate how the latter are increasingly incorporated into the comprehensive approach to peace building. It then proceeds to engage the role of the UN, which although traditionally the key actor in postconflict peace building in the post-9/11 era has seen its primacy in this role mitigated (see The Role of the United Nations). The analytical trajectory then leads into a discussion of The Liberal Peace, which has been identified by critics as the ideological foundation of postconflict peace building. Alternative Perspectives subsequently seeks to reinterpret liberal peace building by suggesting alternative theoretical perspectives that markedly diverge from the conventions of liberal orthodoxy. The State then considers how state reconstruction has become increasingly equated with postconflict peace building, and Broader Debates goes on to assess how the already-expansive boundaries of peace building are being reinterpreted and redrawn.

Defining Peace Building

A cursory glance at UN Reports reveals that the lines that traditionally demarcated peace-making, peacekeeping, and peace-building practices have increasingly become blurred and indistinct. While the ensuing review references the more recent comprehensive approach, it recognizes the continued (if somewhat diminished) salience of the conventional categories and distinctions between these practices. As the review subsequently demonstrates, this dual emphasis essentially reflects the fact that peace building remains within a state of transition. For this reason, this entry simultaneously conceives of peace building as an inclusive strategy that synergizes previously discrete approaches and paradigms in a comprehensive approach to conflict resolution (the post–Cold War understanding) and as a distinctive set of techniques (as in the conventional understanding) that are applied in postconflict contexts. The subsequent subsections outline the key features (at both the Macro-Level and Micro-Level) that define both narrow and expansive forms of peace building.

Macro-Level Approaches

Macro-Level approaches to peace building are predominantly concerned with relatively conventional political institutions and processes. For this reason, such approaches are inclined to conceive of intervention in institutional terms. Within the context of this review, macro-level models can be easily aligned with state building and formalized/standardized approaches (see Postconflict State Building and Peace Building, Power Sharing, and Democratization); however, as the subsequent review demonstrates, this institutionalized and highly formalized emphasis becomes problematic once societal (see Civil Society), cultural (see Culture and Context), and substate perspectives that address historical and cultural factors (see Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology) are introduced into the equation. Although it is important to recognize the noncentralized tensions that suggest alternative trajectories of the development of conflict, it is equally important to highlight the consensus regarding the need for a comprehensive approach to peace building—a conclusion that is further reiterated by the fact that practitioners are increasingly attuned to the microdynamics of peace (culture, social structures, and inclusive/participatory mechanisms; see Broader Debates). Galtung 1969 provides a foundational account of the difference between physical and structural violence in a state and the necessity to address the latter as well as the former. Schwartz 2005 sidesteps conceptual or theoretical debates to outline a functional approach that boils postconflict peace building down to the provision of security, welfare, and representation (note that this framework definition of peace building conceivably encompasses peacekeeping and peace-making operations). The Challenges Project and National Defence College 2002 provides an excellent insight into the adaptations and creative reinterpretations that have informed the evolution of the comprehensive approach (also see Bellamy, et al. 2010). In an earlier contribution, Bellamy 2004 critically assesses the ongoing development of peace-building theory and argues that the adaptations can be largely attributed to the inherent limitations of peacekeeping. Jeong 2005 traces the evolution of peace building and tries to understand how the set of practices involved can be developed in a more thorough and systematic manner. Conversely, Barnett, et al. 2007, is preoccupied with the problems and divergences that have arisen during the practical implementation of the comprehensive approach. Berdal 2009, meanwhile, updates peace-building theory and practice with a critical consideration of postconflict interventions in Cambodia, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

  • Barnett, Michael, Hunjoon Kim, Madalene O’Donnell, and Laura Sitea. “Peacebuilding: What Is in a Name?” Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 13.1 (2007): 35–58.

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    Provides a comprehensive overview of the concept of peace building and engages the key features of the policy debate. The authors highlight the relationship between peace building and structural accounts of conflict; engage the concept of positive peace; highlight intrinsic tensions and divergences within the comprehensive account; and demonstrate some of the difficulties that challenge peace operations and peace builders. A suitable overview for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Bellamy, Alex J. “The ‘Next Stage’ in Peace Operations Theory?” International Peacekeeping 11.1 (2004): 17–38.

    DOI: 10.1080/1353331042000228436Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critically engages peacekeeping practices by highlighting the limitations of technical or instrumental approaches; challenging the misplaced belief that peacekeeping is apolitical and developing this notion by claiming that there is a fundamental tension/divergence between the perspectives and insights of external and internal actors; and demonstrating that peacekeeping practices need to incorporate local actors/dynamics to a greater extent. Suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Bellamy, Alex J., Paul D. Williams, and Stuart Griffin. Understanding Peacekeeping. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010.

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    Discusses the evolution from the traditional peacekeeping to a wider peacekeeping that uses transitional administrations. Specific peace operations are explored, making reference to numerous examples. Includes thematic chapters on regionalization, privatization, protection of civilians, gender, and policing. Draws upon the UN politician Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s An Agenda for Peace (Boutros-Ghali 1992, cited under UN Reports) and thereby places postconflict peace building in the context of UN peace operations.

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  • Berdal, Mats R. Building Peace after War. London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2009.

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    Critically appraises post–Cold War peace building, with reference to interventions that range from those in Cambodia to those in the DRC, thereby considering the use of political force, the centrality of local dynamics, and the need for context-specific solutions. Subsequent sections engage the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office. A text that brings scholars and research students up to date on twenty years of the development of UN peace building.

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  • Challenges Project, and National Defence College. Challenges of Peace Operations: Into the 21st Century; Concluding Report, 1997–2002. Stockholm: Elanders Gota, 2002.

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    This report utilizes the insights and perspectives on peace operations of more than two hundred peacekeeping organizations in order to consider practical challenges and solutions. Inter alia, it considers changing definitions of security, civil-military coordination, and regional responsibilities. It provides an excellent overview of key strengths and weaknesses. Annexes 2 and 3 provide particularly useful lists of participating organizations.

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  • Galtung, Johan. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6.3 (1969): 167–191.

    DOI: 10.1177/002234336900600301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Galtung defines physical and structural violence and elaborates on their differences. Although this article does not mention peace building, it was tremendously influential in the field of peace research and influenced the later development of the concept. The author argues that physical and structural violence must be addressed concomitantly and that one can never fully overcome the other. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Jeong, Ho-Won. Peacebuilding in Postconflict Societies: Strategy and Process. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2005.

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    Situates peace building in relation to its antecedents of peace keeping and humanitarian intervention; explores the possibilities of a more systematic/coherent approach; and explores themes of peace-building design, operational imperatives, and coordination, with reference to contextual variables and endogenous dynamics. Also provides important overviews of activities that fall under security, demilitarization, political transition, development, and reconciliation.

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  • Schwartz, Rolf. “Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: The Challenges of Security, Welfare and Reperesentation.” Security Dialogue 36.4 (2005): 429–446.

    DOI: 10.1177/0967010605060447Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A conceptual analysis that provides an introduction to a special section (on postconflict peace building) in Security Dialogue. Boils peace building down to (human) security, welfare (i.e., economic and social development), and (democratic) representation. Identifies these functions as the products of modern states which are to be reconstituted during postconflict peace building. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Micro-Level Approaches

With the overview of approaches to peace building provided in Macro-Level Approaches in mind, we can begin to distinguish macro- and micro-level approaches according to three divergent tracks: (1) the level of analysis, (2) the relevant theoretical or conceptual framework, and (3) the functional/operational approach. Looking at the first track, we find micro-level approaches to peace building that are oriented toward the individual or communal unit of analysis, resulting in a tendency toward preoccupation with subjective perceptions and interpretations and the communicative dynamics that shape or influence both. For this reason, micro-level approaches tend to emphasize the centrality of individual, cultural (see Culture and Context), and substate forms of engagement (see Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology). In regard to the second track, the conceptual framework, micro-level approaches to peace building emanate from disciplines that are heavily influenced by ethnographic, anthropological, or sociological viewpoints. In contrast, macro-level approaches tend to function at the level of populations, evidencing a preoccupation with the broad mechanisms that constitute collectives (see State Weakness and State Failure and Postconflict State Building); accordingly, macro-level frameworks tend to perceive states’ politics through a range of universal categories: the state, the constitution, or the nation, for instance. This a priori divergence between macro- and micro-level approaches to peace building has important practical implications (which is why the comprehensive approach places such a strong emphasis upon the integration of macro- and micro-level approaches; see Boutros-Ghali 1992, cited under UN Reports). This leads us to the third track of an approach to peace building, the functional/operational approach, which can be used to explain why there is such a strong emphasis upon the integration of grassroots initiatives (such as workshops, educational sessions, and low-level reconciliation initiatives) with macro-level forms of engagement (such as formal negotiations; the design/implementation of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs; and constitutional reform at the national level). In an analysis that is indebted to micro-level perspectives, Cousens, et al. 2001 offers an account that effectively critiques the tendency to reduce politics to institutionalized formulas. In emphasizing that peace is an incremental process, the authors of this text simultaneously reaffirm the notion that peace is negotiated and given meaning by internal actors. Richmond 2010 suggests that the potential of this process could exceed the inherent limitations and restrictions of The Liberal Peace. Gawerc 2006 explicitly conceives of peace building as a form of “positive peace” that surmounts the limitations of peacekeeping. Mani 2002 extends this logic to suggest that peace attains meaning in relation to context-specific understandings and articulations of justice; in this understanding, peace resists structures that embed economic, political, and social violence. Despite the strength of these arguments, it is immediately apparent that a micro-level approach need not be justified in its own terms (with reference to the intrinsic virtues of democratization or justice); instead, such an approach can also be legitimized in instrumental terms—as the approach that best anticipates peace-building ends. In this manner. Lederach 1997 offers an instrumentalist perspective in conceiving of a grassroots momentum that positively reverberates within broader peace-building frameworks. While cognizant of the instrumental virtues of grassroots engagement, Reychler 2006 explicitly stresses the need for a broader multilevel approach.

  • Cousens, Elizabeth M., Chetan Kumar, and Karin Wermester, eds. Peacebuilding as Politics: Cultivating Peace in Fragile Societies. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2001.

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    This seminal contribution identifies the challenges/successes of peace-building interventions in El Salvador, Cambodia, Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Drawing upon empirical research and John Paul Lederach’s theories, it argues that peace building should be perceived as an incremental process. This necessitates a focus upon viable processes as opposed to the formal establishment of political structures.

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  • Gawerc, Michelle I. “Peace-Building: Theoretical and Concrete Perspectives.” Peace and Change 31.4 (2006): 435–478.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0130.2006.00387.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrates how peace building responds to the inherent limitations of peace keeping, thereby distinguishing between “negative” and “positive” peace. It also develops the implications of positive peace according to multitrack diplomacy and demonstrates how positive peace necessarily implies societal engagement, as well as illustrating how the comprehensive approach can be practically applied to social, political, and economic causes of conflict. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997.

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    Lederach defines peace building as “an array of processes, approaches, and stages needed to transform conflict toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships” (p. 20). He proposes that peace building is transformative and that its key is the development of vertical capacity and integration of local actors, including the grassroots, midlevel, and top leadership.

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  • Mani, Rama. “The Three Dimensions of Justice in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding.” In Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War. By Rama Mani, 3–22. London: Polity, 2002.

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    Argues that justice is a political and social imperative and proposes that postconflict justice is comprised of legal; rectificatory, or corrective; and distributive elements. Builds upon the work of the Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, outlining a theory of peace that references direct, structural, and cultural peace. Consequently, reiterates that peace building is a dynamic process/political task.

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  • Reychler, Luc. “Challenges of Peace Research.” International Journal of Peace Studies 11.1 (2006): 1–16.

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    Reychler provides a model for sustainable peace-building architecture that divides its essential building blocks into hardware (political, economic, and security structures and institutions that are peace enhancing) and software (an integrative political-psychological climate). The author also cites as necessary an effective system of communication, consultation, and negotiation; a critical mass of peace-building leadership; and a supportive regional and international environment.

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  • Richmond, Oliver P. “A Genealogy of Peace and Conflict Theory.” In Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches. Edited by Oliver P. Richmond, 14–38. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230282681Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Places liberal peace-building and state-building theory in the context of developments in peace and conflict theory and proposes an agenda for a critical engagement in a postliberal form of peace building that puts local communities first.

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The Role of the United Nations

The UN remains the foremost actor in postconflict contexts, although its practical pre-eminence has been qualified by the growing importance of individual states, regional organizations, and other international institutions within contemporary state-building projects in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. These developments notwithstanding, the organization’s influence in the field of postconflict resolution remains substantial, to which the following section attests. UN Reports develops this claim and seeks to demonstrate how UN texts have filtered into broader policy debates and operational frameworks. The locus of engagement with these texts is particularly important, as it situates peace building within broader interventionist debates (such as the shift toward peace enforcement and the evolution of solidarist notions of humanitarian intervention). New Interventionism addresses the question of how the UN has functioned as a peace-building actor and consequently demonstrates how these concepts and paradigms have been practically interpreted and developed.

UN Reports

Over the course of the 1990s, the UN was subjected to a considerable degree of internal and external criticism, a trend that its qualified “successes” in Nicaragua, Cambodia, and Mozambique failed to substantively mitigate. The horrors of Rwanda and Srebrenica, in particular, substantially strengthened the case being made that the UN was woefully underequipped in the face of a “new” breed of complex political emergencies (see Conflict and the New Wars). The ongoing attempts to meet these challenges are duly enacted in the documents in this section. The initial optimism of An Agenda for Peace (Boutros-Ghali 1992), written by Boutros Boutros-Ghali for the UN, was succeeded by caution and defensiveness about UN peacekeeping missions in his 1995 supplement (Boutros-Ghali 1995), which, in turn, gave way to the damning self-appraisals of the UN in the Brahimi Report (Brahimi 2000). The report is highly critical of the UN’s prior peacekeeping missions, calling for an improved approach and set of practices. Although the most obvious resonance of these reforms was within peacekeeping practices (as evidenced in the growing number of UN missions mandated under Chapter VII of the UN Charter), the reforms also informed an ongoing adaptation of peace-building theory and practice (see United Nations Security Council 2001 and United Nations, Executive Office of the Secretary-General 2006). Institutional learning and adaptation are further evidenced in the multifunctional/comprehensive peace operations that characterize the reports The Responsibility to Protect (International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001) and A More Secure World (United Nations 2004); the latter document is of particular interest, as it formally establishes the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s components and competencies.

New Interventionism

This subsection specifically references previous UN interventions and considers a broad range of analyses that engage with the practical/theoretical development of peace building. Dobbins 2004 traces the development of nation building from its origins in the early stages of the Cold War to its contemporary variants. Berdal and Economides 2007 instead focuses upon post–Cold War forms of peace building and specifically refers to the key interventions that influenced the development of UN operational formulas. Ahmed 2007 seeks to understand this development in regard to the emergence of novel forms of engagement with substate/informal dynamics (also see Bertram 1995). Importantly, this shift, in turn, attests to the growing redundancy of conventional forms of peacekeeping. Chesterman 2004 encapsulates this contemporary dynamic through showing the growing complexity of peace-building practices, which the author suggests can be conceived of in terms of the growing range of operations that are conducted under the peace-building rubric, the range of actors who are involved in UN peace building, and even the postconflict operations that take place outside of the UN framework (see Lambourne and Herro 2008). While the level of conceptual adjustment and reinvention has undoubtedly been impressive (see UN Reports), some observers question whether these shifts have fully emerged into practice. Richmond 2004, for example, argues that the intrinsic tensions of peace building are frequently only conceived of and understood at an operational/instrumental level of analysis. From a slightly different perspective, Diehl, et al. 1996 questions whether the UN has been able to develop a truly comprehensive approach to complex political emergencies. Doyle and Sambanis 2006 offers a more positive assessment of the UN’s evolving capabilities and capacities, arguing that successful peace building is a matter of deploying sufficient international resources to overcome conflict dynamics.

  • Ahmed, Salman, Paul Keating, and Ugo Solinas. “Shaping the Future of UN Peace Operations: Is There a Doctrine in the House?” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 20.1 (2007): 11–28.

    DOI: 10.1080/09557570601155278Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the development of UN peacekeeping over time and explains why the shift toward a comprehensive approach has occurred; refers to interventions in Somalia, Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique, and Namibia; demonstrates the need to move beyond formal political processes; and considers how circumstances necessitate an increased emphasis upon peace enforcement. A policy-oriented study. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Berdal, Mats R., and Spyros Economides, eds. United Nations Interventionism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511491221Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This thorough and detailed volume is an essential text for advanced undergraduate courses about UN peace operations, with chapters providing case studies on various countries involved in the most well-known incidences of UN intervention, including Angola, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Somalia. The volume’s authors provide historical surveys and detailed analyses of the limitations of UN interventionism during this period.

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  • Bertram, Eva. “Reinventing Governments: The Promise and Perils of United Nations Peace Building.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 39.3 (1995): 387–418.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022002795039003001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bertram expands upon the role of indigenous actors in postconflict situations. She thereby demonstrates how intervention is “contingent” upon broader factors/considerations, stresses the centrality of proactive engagement with culture/context, and stresses the dangers associated with phantom states/artificial institutions, thereby simultaneously highlighting the dangers of an overemphasis on external capacity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Chesterman, Simon. You, the People: The United Nations, Transnational Administrations, and State-Building. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1093/0199263485.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chesterman presents a historical perspective that locates contemporary peace building within its 20th-century context. He thereby contextualizes the emergence of complex peace operations. Subsequent chapters explore themes such as accountability, justice and reconciliation, exit strategies, and the role of humanitarian aid, and a final chapter considers the future of complex peace operations.

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  • Diehl, Paul F., Jennifer Reifschneider, and Paul R. Hensel. “United Nations Intervention and Recurring Conflict.” International Organization 50.4 (1996): 683–700.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0020818300033555Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critically appraises the UN’s peace-building record, thereby providing an overview of failures that have been acknowledged by UN officials. The authors consider and document the superficial nature of the UN’s previous successes (such as the intervention in Angola in the early 1990s) before questioning whether the UN has successfully incorporated a peace-building ethos. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Dobbins, James. “The UN’s Role in Nation-Building: From the Congo to Iraq.” Survival: Global Politics and Strategy 46.4 (2004): 81–102.

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    Considers how nation building has become incorporated into UN practice and theory, thereby tracing the development of this practice from the 1960s onward. Outlines how the UN has been required to assume an increasingly broad range of responsibilities. Documents the shift to peace building and questions whether the UN can make a full transition. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Doyle, Michael W., and Nicholas Sambanis. Making War and Building Peace: United Nations Peace Operations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.

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    A research-based and influential study that combines a large-scale quantitative study with selected case studies of success and failure to demonstrate the effectiveness of UN operations when they are properly resourced. Argues that international capacities must compensate for the absence of local capacities and must be greater where the conflict is more complex and intense. A resolute defense of the UN’s record.

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  • Lambourne, Wendy, and Annie Herro. “Peacebuilding Theory and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission: Implications for Non-UN Interventions.” Global Change, Peace & Security 20.3 (2008): 275–289.

    DOI: 10.1080/14781150802390467Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article usefully summarizes peace-building theory and best practice and references insights from peace/conflict studies and international relations. It analytically critiques the regional mission in the Solomon Islands and compares this operation with US-led interventions in Afghanistan/Iraq. The authors conclude with a plea for the effective operational realization of legitimacy, accountability, transparency, integration, and effectiveness. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Richmond, Oliver P. “UN Peace Operations and the Dilemmas of the Peacebuilding Consensus.” International Peacekeeping 11.1 (2004): 83–101.

    DOI: 10.1080/1353331042000228403Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Richmond engages the internal tensions of the comprehensive model of peace building and demonstrates that coordination/integration is not the central issue. He instead focuses upon an a priori tension that is inherent to the very concept of The Liberal Peace. The comprehensive approach is thereby reconstructed as a collection of mutually competing—and essentially exclusive—prerogatives. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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The Liberal Peace

At first glance, the range of values and normative predispositions that underpin the construction of the “liberal peace” appear almost intuitive in character. Yet, as Elements of Debate seeks to demonstrate, the liberal peace is inherently contentious both with regard to its general rationales and its specific modes of operation. The liberal peace does not therefore function as a construct that can be unproblematically projected onto postconflict contexts; instead, it represents an incipient site of contestation and debate (for specific discussions of the critiques surrounding these debates and alternative strategies, see Alternative Perspectives and Broader Debates). After setting the grounds for the debate, Peace Building, Power Sharing, and Democratization proceeds to ask how the liberal peace has been instrumentally adapted to the demands that arise in postconflict contexts. In particular, it asks how power-sharing arrangements, electoral procedures, and institutional forms can consolidate peace-building ends. Conflict and the New Wars then contextualizes the evolution of the concept of the liberal peace, with a specific discussion of the emergence and consolidation of the “new wars” discourse. This overview is followed by Critical Perspectives, which explores the points of rupture within the construction of the liberal peace.

Elements of Debate

The “liberal peace” is most accurately conceptualized as a set of normative images that are projected onto postconflict contexts by external actors. These images emanate from broadly liberal precepts (i.e., representation, accountability, the inherent rationality of market mechanisms, etc.). Placed in the context of this projection, the attempt to enact free trade, political liberalization, and human rights can be seen as the intended precursor of creating a more benign and stable world order. Liberalism therefore functions as an ensemble that gives meaning to a set of practices, values, and deeply ingrained predispositions. Although it seeks to appear as the last word in political rationality, the liberal peace is in fact the basis of a debate that increasingly explores the construct’s fault lines and points of incipient rupture (see Critical Perspectives, Political Economy, and Radical and Poststructuralist). Paris 1997 defines the debate on the liberal peace by explaining both the form and the limitations of its internalist interventions. Chandler 1999 demonstrates how the weaknesses and contradictions of the UN’s Bosnian engagement contributed to the emergence of a virtual representation of democracy that was generated for the benefit of an international audience. The results of the Bosnian experiment and broader postconflict engagements contributed to a growing awareness of the inherent dangers of premature liberalization/democratization. Richmond 2005 (cited under Radical and Poststructuralist) goes beyond treating the liberal peace as a monolithic entity by breaking it down into its radical/emancipatory and orthodox/conservative parts. Newman 2009 also develops these various strands to consider some of the problems that are inherent within critical frameworks of analysis. Newman, et al. 2009 makes an equally broad-ranging assessment, engaging the convergences and divergences of the liberal peace. Barnett 2006 stresses the latter in a just-as-insightful engagement with the intrinsic tensions of liberal democracy, arguing that democracy in peace building must be perceived as a process as opposed to an institutional framework; in this regard, he underplays institutional expressions of democracy and emphasizes the deliberative and participatory elements of democratic theory. The essential claim of Paris 2006, which suggests that international actors should assume responsibility for the reconstruction and stabilization of institutions before host states are exposed to the pressures of liberalization and democratization (elections, civil society reform, and open markets), was a particularly influential/significant contribution to the procedural creation of democracies in peace building. Doyle and Sambanis 2006 (cited under New Interventionism) similarly stresses the virtues of stabilization, in the authors’ contention that UN peace building is effective when it has sufficient resources to address local incapacities and thus contain conflicts. Mac Ginty 2006 offers a critique that originates from a similar understanding, in the author’s demonstration of how “superficial” peace-building projects often fail to fully engage with local dynamics and processes. In this direction, Sriram 2009 offers an engaging case study that considers whether “transitional justice” can aid contextual engagement and thereby aid further peace-building goals.

  • Barnett, Michael. “Building a Republican Peace: Stabilizing States after War.” International Security 30.4 (2006): 87–112.

    DOI: 10.1162/isec.2006.30.4.87Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Highlights the limitations of conventional practices and advocates a broad-based approach that incorporates a wide range of insights and perspectives. Accordingly argues that peace-building practices frequently evidence an elitist bias. Simultaneously explores the limitations of liberal democracy and engages the possibilities of a deliberative and participatory approach to conflict resolution.

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  • Chandler, David. Bosnia: Faking Democracy after Dayton. London: Zed, 1999.

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    A critical study that focuses on the trials and tribulations of the UN in Bosnia after the Dayton Accord. This contribution is highlighted here for its critical attention to the liberal peace-building process and the failure of elections to overcome nationalist and conflictual politics. Chandler focuses on the expanding powers of the Office of the High Representative of Bosnia and Herzogovina and its ill-fated efforts to manipulate local politics to manufacture democracy in its absence.

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  • Mac Ginty, Roger. No War, No Peace: The Rejuvenation of Stalled Peace Processes and Peace Accords. Basingstoke, UK, and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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    Examines how external intervention in postconflict contexts frequently precipitates a form of purgatory (existing in a state of neither war or peace). Outlines how this frequently reflects an insufficient understanding of structural violence. Consequently delineates the inadequacies of previous peace-building efforts in a manner that anticipates improved practices predicated upon holistic interpretations of the liberal peace construct.

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  • Newman, Edward. “‘Liberal’ Peacebuilding Debates.” In New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding. Edited by Edward Newman, Roland Paris, and Oliver P. Richmond, 26–53. Tokyo and New York: United Nations University Press, 2009.

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    Considers how the construct of liberal peace “feeds into” operational dilemmas and demonstrates how these tensions originate within realist, liberal, and transformative impulses, situating each element in regard to narrow or expansive peace-building models, top-down or bottom-up approaches, or problem-solving/critical methodologies. The article also highlights limitations of critical approaches and thereby demonstrates how the liberal peace construct can be revitalized.

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  • Newman, Edward, Roland Paris, and Oliver P. Richmond, eds. New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding. Tokyo and New York: United Nations University Press, 2009.

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    This collection examines the thematic breadth and contextual limits of liberal peace building in light of twenty years of policy and practice. Rather than offering a single way forward, the editors and their contributors wrestle over the dilemmas of the liberal model from contrasting perspectives. Contributors probe these dilemmas via some excellent case and other types of studies, including a chapter by Astri Suhrke and Kaja Borchgrevink on Afghanistan, a chapter by Caroline Hughes on Timor-Leste, and a chapter by Rajesh Venugopal on Sri Lanka.

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  • Paris, Roland. “Peacebuilding and the Limits of Liberal Internationalism.” International Security 22.2 (1997): 54–89.

    DOI: 10.2307/2539367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores peace-building theory and practice and specifies key terms and definitions. Establishes that liberalization has been insufficiently understood/poorly implemented. Outlines the inherent tensions of the construct of liberal peace and refers to eight peace-building missions from the post–Cold War era. Develops alternative course of strategic liberalization and provides extensive references for further reading. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Paris, Roland. At War’s End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    This hugely influential contribution engages the malign consequences associated with premature liberalization. Refers to fourteen peace-building missions from the 1990s and outlines clashes of peace-building ends and means. Analyzes postconflict interventions in Southeastern Europe, Central America, and sub-Saharan Africa and engages with the situations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and Timor-Leste.

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  • Sriram, Chadra Lekha. “Transitional Justice and the Liberal Peace.” In New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding. Edited by Edward Newman, Roland Paris, and Oliver P. Richmond, 112–129. Tokyo and New York: United Nations University Press, 2009.

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    Outlines how transitional justice is reconciled with other components of the liberal peace construct, highlighting how contextually sensitive forms of justice have been articulated and demonstrating how the notion of justice has diverged from broader peace-building ends (with specific reference to influential formulations of the liberal peace). It thereby dismisses the notion that justice is a panacea.

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Peace Building, Power Sharing, and Democratization

As the Introduction notes, peace building increasingly attends to the fundamental reconfiguration of social and political systems. Within this broad-ranging approach, actors have frequently aspired to a substantive and foundational model of democracy (which is more than a set of codified institutional arrangements). In Hampson 1996, the author’s discussion of interventions considers peace building in terms of how a peace settlement and its political institutions are implemented. As Sisk 1996 and Reilly 2001 demonstrate, the formal procedures and processes that are used to channel institutional power can have a major influence upon conflict dynamics. In this sense, questions that pertain to power sharing, the ostensible appearance of the state (as unitary or federal), and the rules and regulations that permit the peaceful transference of power (electoral/representative arrangements) are of the utmost importance. Belloni 2004 highlights how the elections in Bosnia have contributed to ethnic tensions, rewarded conflict entrepreneurs, and undermined broader peace-building objectives, while suggesting that the overall consociational approach has hardened the very tensions that originally brought about the conflict. Jarstad and Sisk 2008 surveys the range of options for power sharing in postconflict states and emphasizes that the reconstruction of a political system is an inherently unpredictable undertaking that is characterized by uncertainty and ad hoc compromise. Norris 2008 and Wolff 2009 both provide research monographs on power sharing and demonstrate how institutional solutions can be successfully applied to conflict/postconflict contexts.

  • Belloni, Roberto. “Peacebuilding and Consociational Electoral Engineering in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” International Peacekeeping 11.2 (2004): 334–353.

    DOI: 10.1080/1353331042000237300Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an overview of integrative/consociational mechanisms, explores how the settlement that occurred post–Dayton Accord has reinforced ethnic divisions in Bosnia, and examines how the consociational system has undermined compromise and reconciliation. Also outlines the key features of the Bosnian electoral system, considers the contradictions of international electoral frameworks, and highlights the consolidation of unintended consequences. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Hampson, Fen Osler. Nurturing Peace: Why Peace Settlements Succeed or Fail. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996.

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    Contends that a great deal of the success or failure of peace settlements is determined by the content of the agreement, whether it is flawed, and whether the parties have moved on beyond what the agreement allows. Through looking at case studies of Cyprus, Namibia, Angola, El Salvador, and Cambodia, this book argues that third parties must seek to create the conditions for peace and not simply wait for the ripeness of the resolution.

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  • Jarstad, Anna K., and Timothy D. Sisk, eds. From War to Democracy: Dilemmas of Peacebuilding. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Surveys the various approaches to sharing power in a postconflict context. Also argues that democracy is not a panacea, illustrating how democratization can create its own challenges. The book engages at the substate, state, and international level to consider the inherent contradictions of demilitarization, electoral processes, and power sharing and thereby illustrates the tensions that are intrinsic to the comprehensive approach to conflict resolution.

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  • Norris, Pippa. Driving Democracy: Do Power-Sharing Institutions Work? Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511790614Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrates the relationship between power-sharing institutions and self-perpetuating peace processes/peace building; differentiates and “tests” different institutional arrangements with regard to their functional effectiveness; develops theories of consociational democracy and explores different forms of decentralization/power distribution; and combines qualitative and quantitative analysis from the early 1970s onward with evidence from case studies.

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  • Reilly, Benjamin. Democracy in Divided Societies: Electoral Engineering for Conflict Management. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511491108Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers how institutional “rules of the game” can be adapted to the broader goals of peace building; argues that institutions can help social actors to make decisions that develop their rational interests; emphasizes preferential or centripetal voting systems and criticizes majoritarian systems; demonstrates how ostensibly arcane considerations can make a real difference; makes specific references to Oceania/Northern Ireland/Estonia.

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  • Sisk, Timothy D. Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts. Washington, DC: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 1996.

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    Explains how democratic forms and arrangements can ameliorate conflict dynamics; distinguishes between instrumental and essentialist accounts of ethnicity and thereby clarifies perspectives; distinguishes between consociational and integrative approaches; provides an overview/typology of key approaches; engages the respective capabilities of authoritarian and democratic states with regard to conflict management; and evaluates how international actors can productively contribute to power-sharing agreements.

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  • Wolff, Stefan. “Complex Power Sharing and the Centrality of Territorial Self-Governance in Contemporary Conflict Situations.” Ethnopolitics 8.1 (2009): 27–45.

    DOI: 10.1080/17449050902738853Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Utilizing a broad range of case studies, this book engages key questions that surround territorial accommodation; provides an excellent overview of key authors in this area; discusses specific challenges associated with regionally concentrated groups; reviews three texts and discusses decentralization looking at three case studies, Spain, India, and Czechoslovakia; and discusses institutional design and the settlement of civil wars. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Conflict and the New Wars

The post–Cold War international security environment was shaped by the outbreak of a series of brutal conflicts that were collectively grouped and defined as “new wars.” This term refers to the purported breakdown of chains of commands, the apparent resurgence of atavistic hatreds/primordial forms of identification, and the breakdown of distinctions between civilians and combatants. The emerging apparatus of intervention should be understood in relation to this perceived escalation in intrastate and internecine conflict. To a considerable extent, the new wars discussion provided the discursive material that shaped peace building in the post–Cold War era. Ignatieff 1994 and Kaldor 1999 demonstrate that this concept can yield analytical material. Similarly, Hoffman and Weiss 2006 demonstrates how the new wars necessitate a more coordinated form of humanitarianism that is consciously and strategically integrated into broader peace-building efforts. Yet, while the new wars label may have chimed with the academic and political zeitgeist (particularly in its merger of security and development—see Duffield 2001), it has not escaped critical analysis for its lack of precision and superficial grasp of the historical record of armed conflict (see Kalyvas 2001 and Berdal 2003).

  • Berdal, Mats. “How ‘New’ Are ‘New Wars’? Global Economic Change and the Study of Civil Wars.” Global Governance 9.4 (2003): 477–502.

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    Questions if contemporary political conflict is linked to economic globalization. Considers, inter alia, linkages between illicit/informal networks and formal processes, and examines the role of both in conflicts that invert or challenge conventional understandings/definitions. Author develops intrastate, regional, and international implications in relation to conflicts in, among other places, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Duffield, Mark R. Global Governance and the New Wars. New York and London: Zed, 2001.

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    Combines post-Marxist and poststructuralist theories to sketch the outlines of the “postmodern” conflict of the new wars. Reconsiders what are ostensibly atavistic or primordial outbreaks of violence as being essentially contemporary phenomena and relates both to ongoing developments of the global economy and forms of global governance. In doing so, it highlights the role of aid within nascent strategic complexes.

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  • Hoffman, Peter J., and Thomas George Weiss. Sword & Salve: Confronting New Wars and Humanitarian Crises. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

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    Examines how humanitarianism has developed over time and engages its theoretical and conceptual components, thereby considering how intrastate conflict poses new challenges to humanitarian actors. Also looks at the emergence of new humanitarianism. Other themes discussed include continuity/change in humanitarianism, the implications of the new wars, and the need for a more coordinated/strategic humanitarianism.

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  • Ignatieff, Michael. Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism. London: Vintage, 1994.

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    Ignatieff provides an engaging, journalistic account. He cites events in Kurdistan, the former Yugoslavia, and Northern Ireland as he attempts to understand the apparent upsurge in cultural and national identity that followed the end of the Cold War. Ignatieff is also the author of The Warrior’s Honor: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience (New York: Holt, 1998), which will also be of general interest.

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  • Kaldor, Mary. New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1999.

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    Kaldor examines contemporary conflict; distinguishes between “old” and “new” wars; engages with the Bosnian conflict of the early–mid 1990s; considers the changing role of nongovernmental organizations; highlights the challenges that are inherent in the reconstruction of political authority; and explores the possibilities of cosmopolitan approaches to conflict resolution.

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  • Kalyvas, Stathis N. “‘New’ and ‘Old’ Civil Wars: A Valid Distinction?” World Politics 54.1 (2001): 99–118.

    DOI: 10.1353/wp.2001.0022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Kalyvas critically engages the concept of the new wars; analyzes events both before and after the Cold War; challenges the fragile barrier that delineates between “ethnic” and “ideological” conflicts; assesses the number of these distinctions that are informed by externalized perspectives; and explains how the distinction old and new wars becomes blurred when subjected to forensic analysis. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Critical Perspectives

A substantial part of the peace-building literature pertains to operational or instrumental questions (e.g., Paris 2000). This emphasis logically anticipates the following questions: How can good practice be entrenched and lessons learned? What are the mechanisms that will ensure a greater degree of efficacy on the part of the international community? How can these mechanisms be integrated to the best effect? While they seldom acknowledge as much, problem-solving approaches are necessarily founded upon particular assumptions and specific values (Pugh 2005). Critical approaches, in contrast, are inclined not only to question the processes that drive intervention but also the very act of intervention itself. Through an incorporation of a variety of analytical frameworks, such as post-Marxism and poststructuralism, critical perspectives expand the observer’s analytical range (Pugh 2005 and Jabri 2010). Accordingly, these approaches do not perceive intervention to originate in intuitive humanitarianism but rather from alternative sources of power that are embedded, and manifested, in cultural, social, economic, and political structures (Bendaña 2003). From such a perspective, we may begin to anticipate a more developed understanding of peace building itself as an expression of liberal diplomacy (see Jahn 2007a and Jahn 2007b). In this broader sense, critical approaches are sufficiently flexible to enable an understanding of how the instruments and functions of power have been redefined in the contemporary context (Duffield 2007 and Taylor 2010). Importantly, they also draw attention to the fact that peace is not an impartial, apolitical, or technical matter of institutional reconstruction (Richmond 2007). The following subsections develop this concept in more depth (see Political Economy, Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology, Radical and Poststructuralist, Gender, and Culture and Context).

  • Bendaña, Alejandro. What Kind of Peace Is Being Built? Critical Assessments from the South. Ottawa, ON: International Development Research Centre, 2003.

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    Bendaña advocates a democratic, participatory, and essentially political understanding of peace; equates peace with a broader program of international reform; refutes technocratic, elitist, and depoliticized peace-building practices; contests the idea that peace has an intuitive meaning and content; rejects the argument that military means can sustain humanitarian ends.

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  • Duffield, Mark R. Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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    Critically assesses how external intervention inverts and transforms the traditional understandings and concepts of societies (contingent sovereignty/sovereign frontier); develops Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and biopolitics specifically in regard to increasingly coercive/consolidated governance networks; delineates the incorporation of individual human subjects into broader structures and power relations; and refers to international interventions in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.

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  • Jabri, Vivienne. “War, Government, Politics: A Critical Response to the Hegemony of the Liberal Peace.” In Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches. Edited by Oliver P. Richmond, 41–57. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230282681Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses Foucauldian concepts to highlight how the standardized components of the liberal peace construct essentially represents a Westernized imposition upon contextual subjectivity; highlights how the implicit institutionalism and militarism of the liberal peace construct is problematically reconciled with emancipatory discourse; and anticipates a range of responses that are premised upon subjectivity and agency.

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  • Jahn, Beate. “The Tragedy of Liberal Diplomacy: Democratization, Intervention, Statebuilding (Part I).” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 1.1 (2007a): 87–106.

    DOI: 10.1080/17502970601075931Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Outlines key elements of liberal political theory and considers how democracy is reconciled with its equivalent parts, referring to the “holy trinity” of politics, economics, and security, and argues that the interplay between these parts attests to an intrinsic tension. This observation is developed in specific regard to the previous failures of US modernization projects during the Cold War. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Jahn, Beate. “The Tragedy of Liberal Diplomacy: Democratization, Intervention, Statebuilding (Part II).” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 1.2 (2007b): 211–229.

    DOI: 10.1080/17502970701302847Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Continued from Jahn 2007a, Part II outlines the links between modernization and democratization and concludes that the latter is doomed to repeat the failures of its liberal antecedent. This, in short, is the tragedy of liberal diplomacy, which the author suggests is enacted in a range of international contexts, including Bosnia, Mozambique, and Cambodia. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Paris, Roland. “Broadening the Study of Peace Operations.” International Studies Review 2.3 (2000): 27–44.

    DOI: 10.1111/1521-9488.00214Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Maintains that peace building has effectively become “ghettoized” and cut off from the field of international relations; holds that practical/operational analyses attest to this; incorporates international relations theory into its discussion of peace building; outlines key questions that emerge from such an analysis; and explains how interdisciplinary insights can improve understanding of contemporary peace-building practices. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pugh, M. “Peacekeeping and Critical Theory.” In Peace Operations and Global Order. Edited by Alex J. Bellamy and Paul Williams, 39–58. London: Routledge, 2005.

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    Argues that peace building perpetuates an inequitable status quo. Contends that technical problem-solving approaches sustain ideological and political domination. Draws upon core-periphery theory, critical theory, and radical political economy perspectives to argue that intervention and its associated apparatus of reconstruction sustains, and diverts attention from, systemic causes of tension/politicized violence.

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  • Richmond, Oliver P. “Critical Research Agendas for Peace: The Missing Link in the Study of International Relations.” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 32.2 (2007): 247–274.

    DOI: 10.1177/030437540703200205Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critically disassembles the concept of peace and engages with the peace studies literature (Edward Azar, Johan Galtung, and John Burton). Develops key concepts such as positive peace and structural violence and expands them—through a broad-ranging discussion—to offer an interpretation of peace that is simultaneously indebted to critical security theory and critical theory. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Taylor, Ian. “Liberal Peace, Liberal Imperialism: A Gramscian Critique.” In Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches. Edited by Oliver P. Richmond, 154–174. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230282681Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers contemporary peace-building practices and references contemporary interventions in the African continent; adopts a political economy perspective to consider how peace building has become problematically reconciled with predatory forms of neoliberalism; demonstrates how macroeconomic reforms have resonated at local levels of governance; and accordingly engages the unintended consequences/perversities of peace building.

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Alternative Perspectives

Once the previously mentioned Critical Perspectives are integrated into our analysis, we can begin to ask how formal structures and processes are implicated within conflict dynamics. From this perspective, it is no longer sufficient to ask how institutional forms can be ascribed onto postconflict contexts (in contrast to the impression that the sections State Weakness and State Failure and Peace Building, Power Sharing, and Democratization give); it is also no longer appropriate to assess external actions purely at the level of formal institutional reconstruction (whether economic, political, or social). Political Economy thus focuses on the economic transformation and, at times, the conflict generated by technical interventions (Postconflict State Building is based on a similar analytical framework); as a consequence, it is necessary to ask how ostensibly apolitical influences relate to formal mechanisms and procedures. Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology similarly proceeds along this informal trajectory of analysis, although it conversely engages micro-level social and political forms that essentially precede the state. When considered as a totality, both analyses suggest a mode of analysis that surmounts the inherent limitations of political formalism (and its equally deficient preoccupation with juridical forms and processes). Radical and Poststructuralist introduces a variety of approaches to understanding the position of peace building in global material and symbolic orders.

Political Economy

During many contemporary intrastate conflicts, shadow economies, or black market economies, have come to play a vital role, both in the provision of arms and as a creative response to the destruction/severe weakening of conventional forms of economic exchange. In many instances, the economy’s relationship to the shadow economy often outlasts the conflict itself and poses unique challenges to postconflict reconstruction efforts. In this context, it is not hard to see why the model of civil war onset outlined in Collier and Hoeffler 2000 and the authors’ thesis that greed rather than grievance often sparks armed conflict have sustained considerable levels of academic and political interest. Equally important, this model has also helped to open up a new avenue of inquiry that specifically attends to the rational and economic motives of individual actors in the aftermath of an armed conflict, which provides a welcome alternative to the questionable claim that the new wars can be understood as outbursts of ethnic animosity (see Ignatieff 1994, cited under Conflict and the New Wars, for an unquestioning rehearsal of this flawed framework). Moore 2000 stresses the international dimension in the consideration of how postconflict intervention has been reconfigured within neoliberal systems of political and economic governance (also see Cooper 2005). Wennmann 2005 engages the formative stages of shadow economies, while both Andreas 2004 and Pugh 2005 consider the relationship between clandestine shadow economies and formal political processes (with specific reference to post–Dayton Accord Bosnia). The writers of both pieces thereby consider how informal economic processes simultaneously constitute a “coping mechanism” and an alternative means for the realization of political/military goals. Cramer 2006 instead locates conflict within ongoing processes of modernization and development. In this manner, the author of this piece forces us to reconsider one of the central tenets of Enlightenment thought—the belief that progress is diametrically opposed to conflict—and instead asks if such conflicts are logically implicit in ostensibly benign processes of modernization. Gruffydd Jones 2008 shows how we can only understand so-called state failure through an analysis that historically contextualizes the integration of domestic units of political organization into global economic structures. The contributors to Pugh, et al. 2008 offer similarly critical accounts to show how the reintegration of the domestic state into global economic networks can catalyze attendant vulnerabilities (see Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology).

  • Andreas, Peter. “The Clandestine Political Economy of War and Peace in Bosnia.” International Studies Quarterly 48.1 (2004): 29–51.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.0020-8833.2004.00290.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Author combines interviews (with former military leaders, political officials, and external observers) with textual analysis; provides an overview of the Bosnian conflict; traces the role that shadow economies played in the initiation, perpetuation, and conclusion of the conflict; and documents how traditional dividing lines (whether national-regional or civilian-military) gradually broke down. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. Greed and Grievance in Civil War. Policy Working Paper Series 2355. Washington, DC: World Bank Development Research Group, 2000.

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    This contribution argues that greed is a better predictor of conflict than grievance (of a social, political, or cultural nature). Both authors initiate a highly positivistic model that tests the proposition that contemporary conflict can be explained by rational, utility-maximizing individuals who seek to extend their control over the rents that accrue from natural resources (also see Paul Collier, Anke Hoeffler, and Dominic Rohner’s “Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility and Civil War,” Oxford Economic Papers 61.1 [2009]: 1–27).

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  • Cooper, Neil. “Picking Out the Pieces of the Liberal Peaces: Representations of Conflict Economies and the Implications for Policy.” Security Dialogue 36.4 (2005): 463–478.

    DOI: 10.1177/0967010605060451Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the effects of how conflict economies are represented and how this can shape peace-building policies that seek to prioritize the policing and protection of the developed world above strategies to address the dynamics of war economies and shadow trade. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Cramer, Christopher. Civil War Is Not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries. London: Hurst, 2006.

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    Demonstrates that modernization is an uneven, turbulent, and disruptive process that is intrinsically associated with politicized violence and reevaluates the belief that war is a recidivist impulse. Thereby references the distinguishing features of the “new wars,” regional conflict complexes, the progressive elements of conflict, and the weaknesses of conventional categories and distinctions.

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  • Gruffydd Jones, Branwen. “The Global Political Economy of Social Crisis: Towards a Critique of the ‘Failed State’ Ideology.” Review of International Political Economy 15.2 (2008): 180–205.

    DOI: 10.1080/09692290701869688Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gruffydd Jones situates intrastate conflict within an international and historical context. From this perspective, conflict is understood in regard to the historicity of the postcolonial state and the processes that have embedded domestic institutions within international economic structures. The author thereby anticipates a historicizing engagement with contemporary power relations. Available online for purchase or subscription.

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  • Moore, David. “Levelling the Playing Fields and Embedding Illusions: ‘Post-Conflict’ Discourse & Neo-Liberal ‘Development’ in War-Torn Africa.” Review of African Political Economy 27.83 (2000): 11–28.

    DOI: 10.1080/03056240008704430Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Utilizes Gramscian and post-Marxist theories to examine the World Bank’s role in postconflict reconstruction and examines how postconflict contexts are increasingly viewed as an “opportunity” to embed neoliberal structures. Thereby considers conflicts between neoliberalism and broader objectives, shifting donor priorities, and the links between the global economy and conflict dynamics. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pugh, Michael. “Transformation in the Political Economy of Bosnia since Dayton.” International Peacekeeping 12.3 (2005): 448–462.

    DOI: 10.1080/13533310500074564Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes how shadow economic networks have become a constant of Bosnian political, social, and economic life before and after the Dayton Agreement, thereby highlighting the emergence of alternative forms of authority and exchange and the dilemmas of criminalization. It goes on to argue that neoliberal frameworks have undermined state capacity and have thereby consolidated and perpetuated shadow economies. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pugh, Michael Charles, Neil Cooper, and Martin Turner, eds. Whose Peace? Critical Perspectives on the Political Economy of Peacebuilding. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

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    Explicitly addresses the political economy of peace in terms of what it is, from postconflict privatizations to organized crime and the gray economy, and who it is for, from the national political elites who are able to control assets to the multinational corporations who profit from extraction. Mixes case studies and thematic analyses across six areas (trade, employment, diasporas, borderlands, civil society, and global governance). A critical and influential volume.

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  • Wennmann, Achim. “Resourcing the Recurrence of Intrastate Conflict: Parallel Economies and Their Implications for Peacebuilding.” Security Dialogue 36.4 (2005): 479–494.

    DOI: 10.1177/0967010605060450Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Resists the temptation to criminalize shadow economic networks and explains how such networks provide “coping mechanisms” in contexts of social and political degradation. Outlines how these networks/structures interact with peace-building efforts. Considers the implications for peace builders and thereby contests the term postconflict. Case studies of Kosovo and Afghanistan further develop this observation. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology

In conventional processes of the reconstruction of states, the state appears as an abstraction that is divorced from societal or historical context (Milliken and Krause 2002; also see Crocker 2003, Helman and Ratner 1992–1993, and Krasner and Pascual 2005, all cited under State Weakness and State Failure). As the emphasis is upon the reconstruction of legitimate authority within a given territory, attention is commonly focused on questions that pertain to institutional reconstruction and state capacity (Lemay-Hébert 2009). External interveners have accordingly focused on the question of state or political reconstruction, often to the detriment of alternative/traditional forms of authority (see Pouligny 2000 as well as Culture and Context). The state, in this manner, is reconstituted as an abstract entity that exerts juridical authority and which, of equal importance, functions without direct reference to culture or context. Increasingly, an alternative approach instead stresses the historical emergence and structural features of the state. Although, in the alternative understanding, juridical structures are retained in accordance with the ostensible formalities of statehood, Nederveen Pieterse 1997 instead maintains that these formalities, or “shells,” are only provided with substance or meaning by sociopolitical forms that essentially precede the state. As a consequence, it is necessary to turn to these complex and differentiated forms to comprehend both the nature of conflict and the possibilities of alternative approaches to conflict resolution. Conflict, according to this alternative understanding, can only be resolved through contextual understandings and solutions (Berger 2008). Furthermore, it considers that postconflict state building must necessarily be enacted in accordance with the contextually specific dynamics that initially informed state formation/disintegration (Bliesemann de Guevara 2010). It should, however, be recognized that contextualization suggests a range of challenges as well as ostensible “solutions” (Mac Ginty 2010).

  • Berger, Mark T. “From Nation-Building to State-Building: The Geopolitics of Development, the Nation-State System and the Changing Global Order.” Third World Quarterly 27.1 (2008): 5–25.

    DOI: 10.1080/01436590500368719Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Elucidates key differences between nation and state building and highlights how the latter has increasingly aligned with US strategic objectives. Argues that state building must consider the integration of the state into international economic frameworks and its relation with cultural and historical contexts. Thereby refutes the technical emphasis upon state capacity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Bliesemann de Guevara, Berit. “Introduction: The Limits of State-Building and the Analysis of State-Formation.” Journal of Intervention and State-Building 4.2 (2010): 111–128.

    DOI: 10.1080/17502970903533652Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that external actors operate within an essentially “bounded” system; holds that contingent processes of state formation circumscribe boundaries; demonstrates how external actors operate within a context that subverts, realigns, and contextualizes a priori goals/ambitions. Subsequent articles in this special edition consider interventions in Bosnia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Georgia. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Lemay-Hébert, Nicolas. “Statebuilding without Nation-Building? Legitimacy, State Failure and the Limits of the Institutional Approach.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 3.1 (2009): 21–45.

    DOI: 10.1080/17502970802608159Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques institutional accounts and engages an alternative interpretation of state reconstruction. Combines an institutional and sociological analysis with practical examples of states (Kosovo, Iraq, and Timor-Leste) to demonstrate how societal structures and actors function in relation to formal structures. Thereby highlights legitimacy and state-societal relations. Simultaneously references other key authors and insights. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Mac Ginty, Roger. “Gilding the Lily? International Support for Indigenous and Traditional Peacebuilding.” In Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches. Edited by Oliver P. Richmond, 347–366. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230282681Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Highlights how international actors have incorporated indigenous/traditional elements of states in response to cultural and democratic peace-building deficits. Also critically engages with grassroots approaches and thereby demonstrates that ownership, participation, and sustainability cannot be conceived as panaceas, which is further reiterated in looking at Rwanda’s (postgenocide) experiment with community-level legal mechanisms in the Gacaca court of community justice.

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  • Milliken, Jennifer, and Keith Krause. “State Failure, State Collapse and State Reconstruction; Concepts, Lessons and Strategies.” Development and Change 33.5 (2002): 753–774.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-7660.t01-1-00247Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors adopt a sociological mode of analysis to contextualize states’ cultural and historical development. They thereby critique the abstract, ahistorical, and idealized construct that frequently informs institutional accounts of postconflict state building and, in response, seek to historicize “state failure” in the expectation that this will encourage a more thorough understanding of conflict and conflict resolution. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Nederveen Pieterse, Jan. “Sociology of Humanitarian Intervention: Bosnia, Rwanda and Somalia Compared.” International Political Science Review 18.1 (1997): 71–93.

    DOI: 10.1177/019251297018001006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    References each of the countries cited in the title and develops a critique of humanitarian intervention’s state-centric modus operandi. Holds that external intervention is a conservative practice that is detached from structural causes of violence (both societal and international). Advocates engagement with informal actors, institutions, and processes and accordingly suggests improved relations between international and substate actors. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pouligny, Béatrice. “Promoting Democratic Institutions in Post-Conflict Societies: Giving Diversity a Chance.” International Peacekeeping 7.3 (2000): 17–35.

    DOI: 10.1080/13533310008413847Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Anticipates limitations of political formalism and outlines the associated weaknesses of elitist/procedural approaches and consequently advocates an approach predicated upon informal social and cultural institutions. Thereby refutes the apolitical character that is frequently ascribed to such social forms. Convincingly demonstrates how norms, values, and cultures can be incorporated into peace-building practice. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Radical and Poststructuralist

In an era in which formal political institutions are increasingly less relevant, it is necessary to adopt a more flexible and fluid mode of political analysis. Poststructural perspectives are of particular utility in this respect, as they help us appreciate the growing informalization of the international order and the reflection of this dynamic in reconfigured forms of authority. Of equal importance, such perspectives can also help us to deconstruct the power relations that are inherent within a certain practice (postconflict reconstruction) that are often misrepresented as impartial, objective, or technical undertakings (see Paris 2000, cited under Critical Perspectives). Debrix 1999 is a study of peacekeeping that is a foundational text in this field, demonstrating how the UN practically adopts a liberal ideology to simulate a semblance of world order. Fetherston 2000 charts three critical approaches to peacekeeping: counterhegemonic (Gramscian), posthegemonic (Habermasian), and antihegemonic (Foucauldian). Richmond 2001 traces the historical development of peace making and considers how its various strands relate and intertwine and argues with hope for a genuine dialogue with the cultural Other, which precipitates genuinely inclusive political orders. In Richmond 2005, the same author offers a separate account that develops key Foucauldian concepts, such as governmentality and biopolitics, within a broader genealogy that explores the conservative and emancipatory components of The Liberal Peace construct. Zanotti 2006 develops Foucauldian insights along similar lines to explore how disciplinary liberalism functions in practice in Croatia (through the UN peacekeeping mission United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium) and in Haiti (through the United Nations Mission in Haiti). Heathershaw 2009 combines poststructuralist discourse analysis and political ethnography in the author’s study of the politics of peace building in postconflict Tajikistan.

  • Debrix, François. Re-envisioning Peacekeeping: The United Nations and the Mobilization of Ideology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

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    Blends poststructuralist discourse analysis and critical geopolitics to engage the strategic representations that underpin disciplinary liberalism; locates peacekeeping within a postrealist framework; illustrates the contemporary significance of “simulation,” with particular reference to visual representations and the mobilization/realization of broader social and political imperatives; and considers the play of representations, with specific reference to broader social and political strategic assemblages.

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  • Fetherston, A. B. “Peacekeeping, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: A Reconsideration of Theoretical Frameworks.” International Peacekeeping 7.1 (2000): 190–217.

    DOI: 10.1080/13533310008413825Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An important critical analysis that provides a comprehensive overview of critical analytical perspectives on peace building as a normalizing policy discourse that is equivalent to peacekeeping. Critiques the explicitly radical approaches of John Burton and John Paul Lederach. Identifies antihegemonic (Foucauldian), counterhegemonic (Gramscian), and posthegemonic (Habermasian) orientations toward peace building. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Heathershaw, John. Post-Conflict Tajikistan: The Politics of Peacebuilding and the Emergence of Legitimate Order. London: Routledge, 2009.

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    A book-length single case study that blends discourse analysis and ethnographic participant observation to answer the question of how postconflict peace builders in the authoritarian regime in Tajikistan salvaged the appearance of partial success out of the capture and redeployment of the materials and symbols of peace-building assistance. Argues that while peace building failed to meet its objectives, international assistance contributed to the emergence of national sovereignty, authoritarian governance, and the rehabilitation of livelihoods.

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  • Richmond, Oliver P.. “Towards a Genealogy of Peacemaking: The Creation and Recreation of Order.” Alternatives 26.3 (2001): 317–348.

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    Sketches the mutating context of peace making, traces the contours of UN reform, indicates the “play” of hegemonic interests, and explores possibilities of a post-Westphalia settlement with specific reference to dialogue, inclusive political orders, and the prevailing influence of broader social formations. It interpolates and skeptically appraises important insights from peace studies literature.

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  • Richmond, Oliver P. The Transformation of Peace. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230505070Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an outstanding introduction with an extensive range of references. Locates contemporary interpretations of peace in a historical context and isolates 19th-century antecedents. Incorporates biopolitics and governmentality into a broader appraisal of the conservative and emancipatory components of the “liberal peace” construct, thereby demonstrating that peace is an inherently political concept.

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  • Zanotti, Laura. “Taming Chaos: A Foucauldian View of UN Peacekeeping, Democracy and Normalization.” International Peacekeeping 13.2 (2006): 150–167.

    DOI: 10.1080/13533310500436524Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Adapts Michel Foucault and reinterprets peacekeeping. Subsequently engages multiple mutations of authority, highlights increasing obsolescence of juridical models, and references new and innovative forms of power projection. Practical issues pertaining to UN missions are also developed and considered. A basic grasp of poststructural theory is a prerequisite for beneficial engagement with this text. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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The State

The comprehensive approach to peace building takes the national state as the given overseer of political order. As a consequence, postconflict reconstruction is enacted in accordance with a standardized range of binary distinctions (i.e., citizen/state, state/society, juridical/traditional), which are in turn entrenched by an idealized spectrum of highly specific economic, political, and social forms. In this unproblematized rendition of crude Westphalian and Weberian binaries, the state is perceived as isolated from society and is correspondingly understood to exert “bureaucratic domination” over the latter (a claim that is clearly problematized in Social Structuralist and Historical Sociological). State Weakness and State Failure first sets out the range of assumptions that emanate from this analytical predisposition. Although this section initially engages with the literature on state failure (which broadly traces a trajectory from state collapse to reconstruction), it incrementally shifts to consider the instrumental (with reference to particular techniques/approaches) and substantive critiques (with reference to the underpinning pillars) that interrogate and probe the state’s limitations. This critical impulse is subsequently extrapolated onto the subjects in Postconflict State Building and State-Building Critiques.

State Weakness and State Failure

During the 1990s, state failure was predominantly conceived as an indirect threat to national, regional, and international security. In spite of the emancipatory space opened up by the use of human security, highly influential contributions, such as Helman and Ratner 1992–1993, continued to represent state failure/weakness as a threat to the existing orthodoxies of international relations; as a logical consequence, this belief effectively equated state reconstruction with postconflict reconstruction. In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, this securitizing impulse became increasingly pronounced, a situation that was evidenced in the coalescence between state building and the imperial model that is advanced in Ignatieff 2003 (Crocker 2003, Rice 2003, and Krasner and Pascual 2005 further underscore the shift in emphasis that demarcates first- and second-generation state building). This consolidation subsequently conditioned a variant of state building that became closely aligned with specific interests/actors and was defined in relation to highly specific threats. Responding to this situation, Pureza, et al. 2006 provides a critical overview of these developments while Ehrenreich Brooks 2005 and Englebert and Tull 2008 critically engage with the weaknesses that are immanent within the state-building paradigm.

  • Crocker, Chester A. “Engaging Failed States.” Foreign Affairs 82.5 (2003): 32–44.

    DOI: 10.2307/20033681Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demarcates first- and second-generation state-building variants and describes the latter in specific regard to the post-9/11 context. Explains why engagement with complex political emergencies is ultimately in America’s strategic interest. Sketches inherent difficulties and demonstrates how it is possible to proactively engage with the causes and symptoms of state failure. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Ehrenreich Brooks, Rosa. “Failed State or the State as Failure?” University of Chicago Law Review 72.4 (2005): 1159–1196.

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    Are the designation of states a sine qua non for international order and stability? Ehrenreich Brooks demurs and insists on the prevailing relevance of alternative social forms. She engages the concept of state failure and demonstrates how an overemphasis on institutionalized structures can hinder social reconstruction. This article contains extensive footnotes and recommendations for further reading. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Englebert, Pierre, and Denis M. Tull. “Postconflict Reconstruction in Africa: Flawed Ideas about Failed States.” International Security 32.4 (2008): 106–139.

    DOI: 10.1162/isec.2008.32.4.106Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critically engages and assesses records of postconflict intervention in sub-Saharan Africa. Explores the limitations of external forms of engagement, thereby referencing institutional models, development aid, and the integration of nongovernmental organizations into state-reconstruction efforts. This critique logically anticipates an engagement with endogenous solutions and possibilities. Also provides extensive references to key/further readings. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Helman, Gerald B., and Steven R. Ratner. “Saving Failed States.” Foreign Policy 89 (Winter 1992–1993): 3–20.

    DOI: 10.2307/1149070Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This seminal contribution to first-generation state building engages the intrastate conflicts of the early 1990s. It provides a historical overview that encompasses decolonization and the Cold War. Outlines key international agencies and organizations. Critically evaluates preceding state reconstruction efforts (specifically engages the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia’s [UNTAC’s] engagement of the early 1990s). Anticipates a shift to neotrusteeship.

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  • Ignatieff, Michael. Empire Lite: Nation Building in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. London: Vintage, 2003.

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    Addresses UN administrations in the countries cited in the title and berates administrative inertia and an absent political will and argues that state building is currently constrained by self-imposed limitations and restraints. Thereby identifies the contradictions of existing practices, isolates the dynamics that condition relations between external and internal actors, and justifies the imperial peace.

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  • Krasner, Stephen D., and Carlos Pascual. “Addressing State Failure.” Foreign Affairs 84.4 (2005): 153–163.

    DOI: 10.2307/20034427Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Observes and delineates the post-9/11 context of state failure. Identifies how an improved understanding of state failure can allow practice to emerge and isolates the specific challenges, referencing key US actors. Also documents the working relations between respective elements of the US response. Highlights the role played by the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization of the US Department of State. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pureza, José Manuel, Mark Duffield, Robert Matthews, Susan Woodward, and David Sogge. Peacebuilding and Failed States: Some Theoretical Notes. Working Paper 256. Lisbon, Portugal: Oficina do CES, 2006.

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    This collection critically engages operational concepts. Pureza offers a genealogy of state failure; Duffield expands Foucauldian concepts and engages mutating forms of governance; Matthews evaluates means and ends in peace building; Woodward engages the interplay between internal and external influences on failed states; Sogge considers the dynamics, efficacy, and ideological underpinnings of state aid. The collection refers to case studies from Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau.

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  • Rice, Susan E.The New National Security Strategy: Focus on Failed States. Policy Brief 116. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003.

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    Engages President Bush’s first National Security Strategy and outlines its key weaknesses and omissions. Suggests that there has been a major shift in strategic thinking, specifically focusing on the strategy and themes of state failure. Explores state collapse/breakdown and refers to specific examples. A particularly valuable contribution for its engagement with a core “paradigm shift” in conflict and postconflict intervention.

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Postconflict State Building

All of the contributions in this section highlight the problems that have arisen as a consequence of international efforts to sustain domestic state reconstruction. Importantly, these shortcomings are not understood to be a priori or intrinsic to state building (for an opposing perspective, see State-Building Critiques and Critical Perspectives); therefore, it is not state building that is being critiqued per se but rather operational shortcomings at the level of implementation. As such, the emphasis is very much on the improvement/refinement of existing technologies (UN Reports operates within a similar framework). Accordingly, Yannis 2003 calls upon international actors to be aware of the possibilities that are inherent in instances of state collapse and state failure; as a logical consequence, the author simultaneously demands a substantive engagement with substate dynamics. Chesterman, et al. 2005 engages the “coping strategies” that remedy incipient state collapse. In a creative “play” upon preventive diplomacy, the contributors to this collection outline a range of approaches and strategies that anticipate and address state failure/disintegration. Fukuyama 2004 similarly stresses the centrality of the interplay between internal and external dynamics and suggests various ways in which this tension can be ameliorated. Fearon and Laitin 2004 expands upon this theme and engages practical dilemmas that originate within the concept of neotrusteeship. Paris and Sisk 2009 similarly develops the pernicious interplay between local complexities and international indecision/incoherence and documents the malign consequences. Ghani and Lockhart 2009, while aware of this tension, offers a series of highly interventionist policy recommendations that draw upon their own extensive experience of postconflict dynamics. Hameiri 2010 builds upon the preceding insights, among others, to demonstrate that state building should essentially aggregate a range of economic, political, and social inputs (also see Call and Wyeth 2008). State building, in this understanding, is a dynamic and adaptive process.

  • Call, Charles T., and Vanessa Wyeth, eds. Building States to Build Peace. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2008.

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    An edited volume that effectively equates state building with peace building. Starts with key contributions from William Reno, Barnett R. Rubin, and Clare Lockhart that engage democratization, securitization, and public finance reform, before Erik Jensen, Katia Papagianni, and Paul Collier consider legal reform, legitimacy, and postconflict economic policy. Case studies drawn from Somalia, East Timor, and Bosnia (among other countries) contextualize these thematic insights.

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  • Chesterman, Simon, Michael Ignatieff, and Ramesh Chandra Thakur, eds. Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance. Tokyo and New York: United Nations University Press, 2005.

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    This edited volume engages flexible responses to nascent forms of state failure/collapse and refers to local/national and international contexts. Various contributors address post-9/11 developments; the significance of human rights; and the interplay between intrastate, regional, and global dynamics (in regard to the trade mission Council of Great Lakes Governors in Colombia and to Central Asia). Case studies include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Singapore, and Mozambique.

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  • Fearon, James D., and David D. Laitin. “Neotrusteeship and the Problem of Weak States.” International Security 28.4 (2004): 5–43.

    DOI: 10.1162/0162288041588296Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Isolates the key features of neotrusteeship and outlines how this practice is an ad hoc response to state fragmentation. Considers the changing face of peacekeeping, identifies key problems associated with international action in the face of complex political emergencies, confronts inherent problems of intervention, and suggests reforms to the UN infrastructure. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Fukuyama, Francis. State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004.

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    Fukuyama perceives an increasing emphasis upon state building in postconflict reconstruction and observes that this has contributed to an increasing emphasis on external capacities/resources but argues that it is essential that we appreciate how local actors can contribute to state building. Good overview of the difficulties associated with ownership and transferability complements a thorough analysis of the contradictions of state building.

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  • Ghani, Ashraf, and Clare Lockhart. Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    References ongoing failures of state-building policy and outlines a “new agenda,” utilizing events to demonstrate how state building has “hollowed out” state capacity/delegitimized state structures. Consequently advocates a “double compact” that integrates international/national and subnational actors into an associated new agenda for state building (an inclusive/citizen-centered vision of national statehood).

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  • Hameiri, Shahar. Regulating Statehood: State Building and the Transformation of the International Order. Basingstoke, UK, and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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    Envisages an “inside-out” approach to state building and delineates the limitations of a detached emphasis on “state capacity.” Advances a dynamic view of the state, thereby situating it within broader patterns of international governance, and locates state building as a dynamic practice that is socially, politically, and economically negotiable.

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  • Paris, Roland, and Timothy D. Sisk, ed. The Dilemmas of State-Building: Confronting the Contradictions of Post-War Peace Operations. London: Routledge, 2009.

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    An important collection that explores complexities of peace building and highlights how peace builders have previously failed to engage these dynamics. Paris engages problems of coordination in chaotic postconflict contexts; David Roberts considers failures of impetus in postconflict Cambodia; Michael Barnett and Christoph Zuercher consider the bargaining between local elites and international actors that may lead to the co-optation of peace building. Electoral processes, demilitarization, and state-building legacies in Iraq/Afghanistan are also engaged.

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  • Yannis, Alexandros. “State Collapse and Its Implications for Peace-Building and Reconstruction.” In State Failure, Collapse & Reconstruction. Edited by Jennifer Milliken, 63–82. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

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    This excellent overview of post-9/11 preoccupations with state failure argues for greater emphasis on interplays between international and substate actors and calls for an appreciation of how the latter can creatively contribute to forming a substantive and sustainable peace. In the absence of such innovation, the author suggests that superficial and ad hoc solutions will prevail and predominate.

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State-Building Critiques

Whereas the preceding subsection is predominantly composed of policy-oriented texts that look toward improved practices, the critical engagement with state building in this section instead considers challenges that may be said to be deeply rooted within its foundational structures (Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology and Culture and Context also explicitly/implicitly highlight some of the weaknesses of state-centrism). Gourevitch 2004 provides a good starting point in this respect, with an excellent review of key texts, arguments, and leitmotifs of the considerable literature on state failure, revealing some of the central problems that appear to be deeply rooted in state-building practice and theory (including insufficient emphasis on politics, an overemphasis on external capacity, and an inadequate understanding of postconflict contexts). Herring and Rangwala 2006 provides an analysis of postconquest Iraq (see also Bliesemann de Guevara 2010, cited under Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology), which emphasizes how international interventions affect and often pervert the wider historical process of state formation. Migdal and Schlichte 2005 draws on an equally developed appreciation of the complexities of state formation to emphasize the problems that arise from an overemphasis upon Weberian state structures. Chandler 2006 also engages the limitations of existing models of state building (which the author suggests fail to fully incorporate the potentiality that is inherent in states’ social forms) in a critical evaluation of the ongoing international intervention in Bosnia. In this contribution, he evaluates how international actors have disempowered local populations and retreated from the very motifs (political self-determination, accountability, popular sovereignty) that they formally invoke. In a clear articulation of the contradiction inherent in international state building, Bickerton 2006 critically appraises the political implications that arise from contemporary experiments with “sovereignty.” In a further extrapolation of this theme, Heathershaw and Lambach 2008 suggests that postconflict spaces produce new nonsovereign forms of governance that show no sign of succumbing to the logic of the sovereign territorial state form. Zaum 2007 similarly argues that the “sovereignty paradox” is an inconsistency that rests at the heart of liberal internationalism. In the course of his analysis, the author concurs that external interventions ostensibly invoke principles that are substantively undermined.

  • Bickerton, Christopher J. “Statebuilding: Exporting State Failure.” In Politics without Sovereignty: A Critique of Contemporary International Relations. Edited by Christopher J. Bickerton, Philip Cunliffe, and Alexander Gourevitch, 93–112. London: Routledge, 2006.

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    An excellent critique of state building in a volume that explores how contemporary variations of intervention deny sovereignty and political agency. Bickerton outlines how international interventions reproduce weak and artificial states, undermine sovereignty, and presuppose that governance is a matter of technical procedure. He suggests that, in this way, state building is ultimately flawed and destined to reproduce the problems it ostensibly confronts.

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  • Chandler, David. Empire in Denial: The Politics of State-Building. London: Pluto, 2006.

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    Critically engages with Bosnia’s post–Dayton Accord political settlement; evaluates the emergence of “phantom states,” which are divorced from the societies they ostensibly represent; engages subtexts that underpin appeals to ownership; outlines the highly technocratic modus operandi that characterizes this “empire in denial”; and traces the emergence and consolidation of innovative forms of governance.

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  • Gourevitch, Alex. “The Unfailing of the State.” Journal of International Affairs 58.1 (2004): 255–260.

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    Provides an excellent observation of contemporary discussions of state failure and refers to three anthologies—When States Fail: Causes and Consequences (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007); State Failure, Collapse & Reconstruction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003); The Nation-State in Question (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003)—that discuss states’ key strengths and weaknesses. Also traces the securitization of state failure over time, highlighting recurring problems and weaknesses in typologies of state failure.

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  • Heathershaw, John, and Daniel Lambach. “Introduction: Post-Conflict Spaces in International Relations.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 2.3 (2008): 269–290.

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    Explores how postconflict states are built through the creation of spaces of intervention and conflict as they fail to take hold in their ostensible territories of governance and argues that any enclosure of these realities within formal structures/processes is inherently problematic. It thereby engages the tension between formal and informal structures and analyzes the broader functions of state building for the interveners.

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  • Herring, Eric, and Glen Rangwala. Iraq in Fragments: The Occupation and Its Legacy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.

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    A thoughtful study of Iraq under US occupation that engages a debate between international state building and national state formation, with particular attention to the political economy of state building. Demonstrates empirically how the contradictions identified by Christopher Bickerton (Bickerton 2006) and Alex Gourevitch (Gourevitch 2004) manifest themselves in the unique case of postconquest Iraq.

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  • Migdal, Joel, and Klaus Schlichte. “Re-Thinking the State.” In The Dynamics of States: The Formation and Crises of State Domination. Edited by Klaus Schlichte. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005.

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    Utilizes a set of workshops to redefine the form, content, and function of non-Western states; outlines conventional state-building assumptions (binary distinctions, hierarchical structures, formal lines of accountability) and explores their reinvention within post-Weberian state forms; in this manner, develops the argument that the state is an adaptive, rather than static, entity.

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  • Zaum, Dominik. The Sovereignty Paradox: The Norms and Politics of International Statebuilding. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Engages embedded state-building rationales; analyzes how transitional administrations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Timor-Leste have creatively adapted norms of sovereignty to peace-building imperatives (and highlights implicit tensions and divergences); explores the limits and open spaces of liberal internationalism; and demonstrates how this mode of analysis anticipates an improved engagement with external interventions.

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Broader Debates

Although ostensibly predicated on a comprehensive approach to conflict resolution and directed toward the integration of divergent elements into a composite strategy, peace building has nonetheless been susceptible to the criticism that it marginalizes or ignores important points of engagement (see Bendaña 2003 and Pugh 2005, cited under Critical Perspectives; and Chandler 1999 and Barnett 2006, cited under Elements of Debate). The accuracy of this claim notwithstanding, operational frameworks are beginning to belatedly recognize the inherent possibilities of civil society engagement, of the recent “mainstreaming” of gender, and of cultural engagement (also see Defining Peace Building and its subsection Micro-Level Approaches). This section initially conceives of a micro-level approach to peace building that engages those at the margins: the excluded, the disenfranchised, and the disempowered. It does this in three stages: First, Civil Society engages with subterranean processes and dynamics that function below the level of the state. From this perspective, peace builders conceive of solutions as not being isolated from the afflicted societies; instead, it is held, conflict resolution can only originate from within. This claim is evocative of the views described in Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology as well as those in Bellamy 2004 (cited under Macro-Level Approaches) and Gawerc 2006 (cited under Micro-Level Approaches). This section then proceeds to consider how socially constructed forms of identification can simultaneously construct constituencies for peace. Gender considers how a commitment to the fundamental reconfiguration of political and social systems necessitates an engagement with forms of exclusion that are validated by entrenched social/cultural norms. Finally, Culture and Context looks at how the consideration of culture can inject context and specificity into inflexible, generic, and standardized peace-building formulas (this demand rehearses imperatives that are advanced in Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology and Radical and Poststructuralist).

Civil Society

In contrast to apolitical or technical modes of intervention, civil society peace building is predicated upon an engagement with localized political dynamics. As the contributions in this section demonstrate, this type of engagement militates against the presumption that peace can be obtained through the agency and good intentions of external actors (also see Micro-Level Approaches); instead, it is held, peace building must engage and cultivate civil society actors in the expectation that this will preempt an endogenous peace. Lederach 1997 demonstrates how civil society actors can, through a normative and creative engagement at moments of reconciliation, influence and perpetuate broader peace processes. Shaw and Waldorf 2010 explicitly acknowledges the value of this insight in conceiving of civil society engagement as a precondition for successful peace building. Goodhand and Hulme 1999 offers a practical variation on this theme by demonstrating how aid provision can be reconceptualized as an opportunity to engage local capacities for peace. Smillie 2001 engages the dynamics of civil society engagement in a wider sense, showing how capacity building has become incorporated into broader relations between internal and external contexts (see also Hoffman and Weiss 2006, cited under Conflict and the New Wars). Reychler and Paffenholz 2001 provides a practical guide that demonstrates how individuals on the ground can adjust/refine their approaches, although the authors’ account is limited in that it fails to recognize the essentially political nature of individuals’ engagement.

  • Goodhand, Jonathan, and David Hulme. “From Wars to Complex Political Emergencies: Understanding Conflict and Peace-Building in the New World Disorder.” Third World Quarterly 20.1 (1999):13–26.

    DOI: 10.1080/01436599913893Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An excellent overview of the conceptual shifts that took place in the 1990s from the notion of war to new ideas of violent political conflict framed in terms of the role of intervention. Uses the descriptive category “complex political emergency” to draw attention to the political economy and the wider social context of peace building. Argues for focusing on specific processes occurring at the community level. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1997.

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    In this influential text, Lederach outlines a biblically informed theory of peace building as a holistic process of reconciliation, drawing on his experiences with peace-building practice across the world. His conceptualization of peace building as occurring from the “bottom up” was hugely influential in the policy world, with international nongovernmental organizations consequently arguing for a civil society component to postconflict peace-building practices, which had hitherto been dominated by formal engagements at the level of the state.

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  • Reychler, Luc, and Thania Paffenholz. Peacebuilding: A Field Guide. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2001.

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    This practical guide engages key concepts/terms; outlines key attributes that an aspiring fieldworker must possess; highlights the importance of culture, gender, and supply-side (implementation) issues; differentiates forms of conflict monitoring; and highlights optimal mediation strategy. Refers to, inter alia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland.

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  • Shaw, Rosalind, and Lars Waldorf, eds. Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

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    Shaw and Waldorf challenge the conception of the local in the context of transitional justice and advocate a place-based approach that inclines the interveners-intervened relationship in the direction of engagement. Contributors consider cases of justice after mass violence, looking at South Africa, Peru, Sierra Leone, Northern Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

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  • Smillie, Ian, ed. Patronage or Partnership: Local Capacity Building in Humanitarian Crises. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2001.

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    The Introduction by Ian Smillie highlights external-local dynamics; the salience of civil society perspectives; and sectoral and generalized capacity-building approaches using case studies of Bosnia, Haiti, and Mozambique. Arjuna Parakrama examines the tension between humanitarian aid and broader objectives, with specific reference to Sri Lanka. Thomas Mark Turay then explores tensions between international and local actors in Sierra Leone during the 1990s.

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Gender

Following the issuance of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, gender has assumed a position of prominence in policy and theoretical debates on peace building. For many feminists, despite the formal “mainstreaming” of gender, it has been left on the margins of the politics of peace building. Pankhurst 2000 demonstrates how a gendered perspective can surmount the limitations of negative peace and contribute to a “positive” peace that is founded on equality, justice, and mutual respect. Askin 2003 considers the many ways in which women have positively contributed to conflict/postconflict contexts. Rehn and Sirleaf 2002 also attests to the invaluable contribution that women make to postconflict reconstruction. Strickland and Duvvury 2003 demonstrates how a variety of actors (the World Bank, the International Labour Organization, and relevant UN agencies) have begun to develop practical policies that operate within transformative frameworks. In an analysis that provides a highly comprehensive overview of both gender and peace building, the authors consider the mainstreaming of gender in a range of postconflict contexts. Väyrynen 2004 theorizes these developments within a more skeptical framework, based on the author’s observation that gender has become incorporated into securitizing narratives that entrench broader power relations. In Väyrynen 2010, the same author offers a radical critique that considers how gender has been restricted by its instrumental utilization and application. Reilly 2007 partially accepts this analysis—and thereby acknowledges that legal frameworks have previously reproduced patriarchal structures—although, on the converse, the author also poses the question of how contemporary legal shifts and adaptations can feed into broader political struggles to advance the position of gender.

  • Askin, Kelly D. “The Quest for Post-Conflict Gender Justice.” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 41.3 (2003): 509–521.

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    Evaluates violence against women in conflict/postconflict contexts and rejects the sanctified status of victimhood, outlining how women actively contribute innovative and sustainable solutions (in the form of peace building, civil society engagement, and participation in key institutions). Also engages legal frameworks and the various ways in which gender is, or could be, “mainstreamed.” Provides extensive footnotes and suggestions for further reading. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pankhurst, Donna. Women, Gender and Peacebuilding. Working Paper 5. Bradford, UK: University of Bradford, Department of Peace Studies, 2000.

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    Places gender within the broader context of “positive” peace. It thereby argues that conventional reconciliation/conflict-resolution practices perpetuate patriarchal forms, critically engages the respective significance of masculinity and femininity, explores how women’s organizations have contributed to peace building, and demonstrates how gender perspectives can be “mainstreamed” into policy frameworks, and from there, it provides clear policy recommendations.

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  • Rehn, Elisabeth, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Progress of the World’s Women 2002. Vol. 1, Women, War, Peace: The Independent Experts’ Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women’s Role in Peace-Building. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2002.

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    Draws upon the personal experiences of women, as well as incorporating official views and perspectives, to offer a message of hope and resilience and outlines scale of the violence perpetrated against women. Also engages, inter alia, women’s contribution to peace operations, the meaning/significance of justice, and the role of gender in reconstruction. Refer to key recommendations.

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  • Reilly, Niamh. “Seeking Gender Justice in Post-Conflict Transitions: Towards a Transformative Human Rights Approach.” International Journal of Law in Context 3.2 (2007): 155–172.

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    Argues that discursive representations of transitional “justice” frequently fail to incorporate gender perspectives. Outlines how traditional legal frameworks perpetuated patriarchal forms of domination and explains how legal institutions/mechanisms have begun to address this (especially the UN Security Council Resolution 1325). Demonstrates how this adapted framework has been incorporated into participatory struggles for women’s emancipation. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Strickland, Richard, and Nata Duvvury. Gender Equity and Peacebuilding—From Rhetoric to Reality: Finding the Way. Washington, DC: International Center for Research on Women, 2003.

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    Provides a comprehensive overview of key terms, debates, and themes; draws on existing literature and summarizes central terms, policies, and questions; assesses whether, and how, an appreciation of gender has been fully institutionalized within peace operations/policy frameworks; develops these themes in regard to El Salvador, East Timor, Burundi, and Guatemala; and includes a comprehensive bibliography that refers to an extremely broad range of texts.

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  • Väyrynen, Tarja. “Gender and UN Peace Operations: The Confines of Modernity.” International Peacekeeping 11.1 (2004): 125–142.

    DOI: 10.1080/1353331042000228481Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sets UN SCR 1325 in the broader context of a range of gender-specific measures; argues “gender” has become subsumed within a narrow definition of “modernity”; utilizes a discursive analysis to understand how gender has been instrumentally adapted; “opens up” gender and thereby refutes UN constructions of femininity/essentialist perspectives.

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  • Väyrynen, Tarja. “Gender and Peacebuilding.” In Palgrave Advances in Peacebuilding: Critical Developments and Approaches. Edited by Oliver P. Richmond, 137–153. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230282681Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Engages the instrumental rationalization of gender and demarcates a counterhegemonic form of gendered agency (with specific reference to essentialist, standpoint, and poststructural approaches), thereby challenging the belief that gender can be uncritically ascribed, recognized, and practically translated/implemented. Develops this insight particularly in regard to the subaltern, power relations, and language.

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Culture and Context

Schirch 2005; Pouligny, et al. 2007; and Mac Ginty 2008 offer alternative prescriptions that envisage the integration of culture into broader peace-building practices that function at the state/substate level. Lederach 2005 further enunciates this positive vision, referring to a “moral imagination” that is rooted in a shared culture of peace. In Paris 2002 and Rubinstein 2005, the authors scale up their analyses to demonstrate how global culture has defined both the form and efficacy of postconflict peace operations. Bichsel 2009 also addresses global culture, demonstrating how the international dimension can induce perverse consequences in postconflict contexts (also see Chandler 1999, cited under Elements of Debate). Richards and Helander 2005 develops this dynamic as the pernicious state of “no peace, no war,” proposing that the two are concurrent modes of existence, in looking at the unintended consequences of international engagement. A similar indictment of the gaping chasm between international peace-building efforts and local political dynamics resonates within Autesserre 2010, an ethnographic study of international peace building in Congo (also see Social Structuralist and Historical Sociology).

  • Autesserre, Séverine. The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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    An excellent recent study that argues that UN peace building in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was framed in national and regional terms and thus failed to recognize that ostensibly national wars were in fact rooted in a complex of local conflicts. Based on significant fieldwork done in DRC, this text shows how ostensibly “bottom-up” approaches to peace building suffered from the tendency to view the violence as part of a single armed conflict. Argues for a properly contextualized approach to this type of peace building.

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  • Bichsel, Christine. Conflict Transformation in Central Asia: Irrigation Disputes in the Ferghana Valley. London: Routledge, 2009.

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    Fieldwork-based study approached through the prism of the ethnography of aid, which argues that the peace-building framework adopted by three aid agencies in Central Asia leads them to a broadly common approach that misdiagnoses conflicts as being driven by ethnic difference and scarcity of resources. This misdiagnosis, the author argues, means that the agencies’ aid has unintended effects, even supporting processes of authoritarian state building that in turn generate the real grievances behind the conflicts.

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  • Lederach, John Paul. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    Lederach offers a highly personalized account—which incorporates his Anabaptist faith—as he identifies the role of “moral imagination” in all cultures that have experienced armed conflict. This richly descriptive (almost novelistic) account looks past formal processes and procedures and engages the everyday struggles and achievements of ordinary people. Lederach refers to artists, philosophers, and real-life examples from his considerable peace-building experience in a manner that will appeal to a broad readership.

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  • Mac Ginty, Roger. “Indigenous Peace-Making versus the Liberal Peace.” Cooperation and Conflict 43.2 (2008): 139–163.

    DOI: 10.1177/0010836708089080Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An argument for “indigenous and traditional practices” of peace making as an alternative to the standardized global model. Claims that the local civil society’s instrumental adoption in postconflict peace building made such groups “facilitators and enforcers of the liberal peace.” Identifies the potential for such actors to subvert The Liberal Peace construct and create alternative postconflict environments. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Paris, Roland. “International Peacebuilding and the ‘Mission Civilisatrice.’” Review of International Studies 28.4 (2002): 637–656.

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    Overcomes intuitive sentiments and critically engages the construct of The Liberal Peace, demonstrating that it is an inherently political project that shares some similarities with its colonial antecedents. Develops this comparison and reiterates that peace building is predicated on specific cultural and political values. Thereby refutes its frequent misrepresentation as an apolitical/impartial/technical exercise. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pouligny, Béatrice, Simon Chesterman, and Albrecht Schnabel, eds. After Mass Crime: Rebuilding States and Communities. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2007.

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    This edited volume considers how peace building after mass violence requires a radical transformation at the individual and community level in terms of belief systems and codes of conduct, incorporating issues of identity and trust, justice and reconciliation, redistribution of wealth, and building political capacity. Like John Paul Lederach (Lederach 2005) and others working on peace-building theory from a peace and conflict studies perspective, the authors in this volume analyze peace building at the micro-level of the community rather than the macro-level of the state and its institutions.

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  • Richards, Paul, ed. No Peace, No War: An Anthropology of Contemporary Armed Conflicts. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2005.

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    This compilation of largely African case studies from scholars at Uppsala University takes an ethnographic approach to “new war” (see Conflict and the New Wars). In an insightful introduction, Richards argues against seeing war and peace as binaries, and posits that they are mutually interdependent, although conflictual, forms of existence. This conclusion then leads Richards to suggest that local governance and justice may often be a better option than state building.

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  • Rubinstein, Robert A. “Intervention and Culture: An Anthropological Approach to Peace Operations.” Security Dialogue 36.8 (2005): 527–544.

    DOI: 10.1177/0967010605060454Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Highlights the significance of “culture-based difficulties” in peace operations, particularly in the claim to legitimacy, standing, and authority made by interveners. On the one hand, peace builders generate stereotypes about local contexts when they are unable to grasp the diverse and shifting cultural contexts in which they engage. On the other hand, when peace operations can no longer claim the legitimacy associated with the UN’s global standing then they become ineffective in context. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Schirch, Lisa. Ritual and Symbol in Peacebuilding. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2005.

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    In keeping with the work of John Paul Lederach (Lederach 2005), this account is informed by and aimed at practice and practitioners. Argues for the centrality of ritual and the symbolic in the building of peace and suggests that an appreciation of how they are central to personhood and community can inform peace-building strategies and workshops.

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LAST MODIFIED: 05/23/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199743292-0023

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