Postconflict peacebuilding, liberal irrelevance and the locus of legitimacy

2014-07-28T11:15:58Z (GMT) by David Roberts
Post-conflict peacebuilding is failing, according to both its critics and its advocates. By way of solutions, proponents seek more of the same, whereas opponents argue for a radical shift. Both contain parts of a possible solution to the lack of local legitimacy that stigmatizes interventions, many of which descend into violence within five years and few of which produce democracies. This article advances the idea of a ‘popular peace’ that refocuses liberal institution building upon local, democratically-determined priorities deriving from ‘everyday lives’, in addition to internationally-favoured preferences (such as metropolitan courts and bureaucratic government). This is hypothesized to better confront the prevailing legitimacy lacuna, create social institutions around which a contract can evolve, and generate the foundations upon which durable peacebuilding may grow.