18 December 2015
It has become increasingly apparent that both the liberal peacebuilding framework of the 1990s (as defined by the UN’s Agenda for Peace), and the more critical responses since (as outlined in the recent High Level Panel Report on UN Peace Operations), have been surpassed by current events and new dynamics.
The idea of peace, as mainly seen in the broad context of reconstruction and stabilisation at the end the Cold War in the 1990s, has undergone profound change. There has been some gentle criticism of the risks of literal understandings of liberalism, with its focus on human rights and democracy, and the shift to neoliberalism with its preference for market forces, as a basis for peacebuilding. In the 1990s, the debates were just beginning to push against the post-Cold War Washington/New Consensus on the aforementioned liberal and neoliberal approaches to peacebuilding, but these are now long dead in scientific terms.
It has now also become more doubtful as to whether an emancipatory form of peace – one that removes direct and structural forms of violence and offers the ‘good life’- can be found by merely resolving identity issues and recognising the risks of Eurocentricism, without major structural international change and deeper forms of justice.
… Oliver P. Richmond was a visiting Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in November 2015. He is a Research Professor at Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute and the Department of Politics, University of Manchester. His latest book is Failed Statebuilding, Yale University Press, 2014.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 21/12/2015