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Pathways to Post-Liberal Peace: Perspectives on the ‘Common Good’ in Peace and Statebuilding

Pathways to Post-Liberal Peace: Perspectives on the ‘Common Good’ in Peace and Statebuilding


Pospisil, J. (2017). Pathways to Post-Liberal Peace: Perspectives on the “Common Good” in Peace and Statebuilding (PSRP Working Paper No. 7). Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

Download working paper.

Policy points:
• Donors need to understand the claim to work more politically first and foremost in a self-reflective way, critically scrutinizing their own political role.
• Relational engagement is an enterprise of mutual learning – shared values and norms should not be misunderstood or misused as legal codes, obligations or representations.
• The idea of statebuilding needs to be buried for good.
• Notwithstanding the notion’s often crude and misleading application, ‘principled pragmatism’ may have to offer insights of how to design relational engagement.

Abstract: Against the background of a conceptual history of approaches to the ‘common good’ in peace- and statebuilding, this working paper explores potential pathways for relational engagement in transitions from violent conflict. While it is academically widely undisputed that liberal interventionism has reached an impasse, the political space that opens up beyond that remains widely unexplored. Suggestions range from adapting and prolonging the liberal enterprise to a re-orientation towards the local, or the focus on effects in the sense of vintage conflict management. The resulting question, however, is how to overcome the misleading distinction between liberalism and relativism, and to marry the calls for pragmatism and a more political engagement. The notion of relational engagement may offer a potential pathway.

Keywords: Concepts

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