Research Project at the Centre
Pragmatic Peacebuilding: Engaging with the Micro-politics of the Everyday to Cultivate Inter-Ethnic Cooperation
Based on a research interest in the intersection of international relations and sociology, this project sheds light on the ongoing transformation of peacebuilding from top-down ‘liberal peace’ interventions to ‘pragmatic approaches to peacebuilding’ that engage with the micro-politics of the everyday to, for example, cultivate inter-ethnic cooperation. I will focus on three interrelated areas.
Firstly, at the theoretical level, I will investigate how pragmatism informs the critique of liberal peace interventions and the proposal of a renovated form of peacebuilding that openly engages with the micro-politics and the everyday activities of post-conflict societies. This theoretical analysis is important to capture the discursive logic behind this shift.
Secondly, at the policy level, I will investigate the European Union External Action mechanisms (e.g. Instrument for Stability, Peacebuilding Partnership or instruments for Mediation and Dialogue) that are intended to correct the past wrongs of top-down liberal interventions, driven predominantly by the UN or the United States. The aim here is to understand how the European Union is practicing peacebuilding away from orthodox liberal approaches to experiment with a relational and context-sensitive approach to peacebuilding that is owned and led by ‘the local’.
Thirdly, undertaking narrative analysis, I will focus on the ongoing EU Missions in Bosnia (ALTHEA, since 2004) and Kosovo (EULEX, since 2008), to see how they are interpreted and accepted or resisted by ‘the local’. The cases in the former Yugoslavia are important because they represent the biggest foreign policy missions implemented by the EU, which replaced the top-down driven UN Missions, and propose a renovated governance approach that is more respectful of the local needs and values. The aim here is to engage with the narratives of those intervened upon to highlight both the limits and the potential of the EU pragmatic approach to peacebuilding.