Loughborough University
Thesis - Ibrahim Magara.pdf (3.23 MB)

Regional peace-making in Africa: A study of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led peace process for South Sudan, 2013-2018

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posted on 2023-06-06, 10:15 authored by Ibrahim Magara

Regional bodies, particularly in Africa, are playing an increasingly important peace-making role. However, critical peace research is yet to come into communication with the phenomenon of regional peace-making. Notably, critical peace research overwhelmingly focuses on the critique of liberal peace and overemphasises the local-turn and/or the everyday. On the other hand, regional bodies, especially in Africa, are often claimed to fail in their peace-making efforts by mainstream scholarship largely due to their deviation from the European model of regional integration. Through the case of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), I engage with how hybrid peace theory can be strengthened and developed further by integrating the regional platform as an agonistic space. Agonism, in my reading, entails viewing multi-layered disagreements that characterise peace-making as normal political encounters and processes. Thus, I suggest that hybridity, with agonism integrated, is a useful conceptual, analytical and explanatory pathway to engaging with the phenomenon of regional peace-making in a nuanced way. In so doing, I extend and develop critical peace scholarship further. Empirically drawing out from archival and documentary research, as well as elite interviewing, I unpack the complexity of the South Sudan conflict and of the intricate regional relations that underscored the formation and subsequent tumbling into civil war of the newly created country. Analytically, I draw out the importance of IGAD’s structure and functionality and use the case of Riek Machar’s contested status to engage the regional entanglements and their implications on IGAD’s conceptions and approaches to peace. I suggest that both the declaration of IGAD as a failure and Machar’s contested status, among other factors, facilitate a process that sustains discourses and regulates relations that could otherwise explode into various theatres of violence. I further engage with how multiple extant ideas of peace, circulating in the region, inform the often contradictory and controversial assessments of what needs to be done by regional actors in their interaction with the conflict and their peace-making efforts within the framework of IGAD. Consequently, I emphasise the significance of IGAD, and other African regional bodies, as an agonistic platform, capable of facilitating and domesticating the political into constructive avenues through which hybrid peace is not only conceivable but possibly attainable.


Loughborough University

International Peace Research Association Foundation (IPRAF)



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • International Relations, Politics and History


Loughborough University

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© Ibrahim Magara

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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Giulia Piccolino ; Christina Oelgemoller

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  • PhD

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  • Doctoral

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HPSC Ref No: R19-P116

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