Forms of Resistance: State-building Strategies of Local Actors in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
Analyses of “liberal peacebuilding” generally examine the normative content of such practices as democracy promotion, security sector reform or transitional justice and rule of law, and focus on the top-down technocratic orientation of peacebuilding practices. They have highlighted the shortcomings of liberal peacebuilding, the ambiguities surrounding such concepts as “local ownership,” and the complex nature of the “peacebuilder’s contract. My presentation turns around the liberal peacebuilding paradigm, and examines the way in which local actors draw upon the financial, organizational, programmatic and rhetorical resources of the international peacebuilding community to advance state-building or rent-seeking agendas. These agendas sometimes coincide with those of the international peacebuilding community, but more often thwart its aims, bending and fusing specific programmes to the purposes of local power-holding actors. From this viewpoint, peacebuilding is often highly successful in achieving their aims.