Winning ordinary people over to peace

An example of international pacification engineering
By Sandrine Lefranc

From the middle of the 80s, international organizations have become more and more interested in peace building. Among the “post-conflict” solutions they propose are those aiming at the “reconciliation of the many” rather than the reform of social and political structures. Compared to peace accords negotiations, peacekeeping operations, and other forms of intervention that aim at an elite-built “liberal peace”, these programs are conceived as an alternative peace building tool. A quantitative biographical analysis of “grassroots peace building” agents and the study of some of the historical origins of specialized organizations show that international programs are new resources for social games in the countries that are exporting them, and channels for the spreading of particular dispute resolution tools and conceptions of social change. These observations tend to question their character as an alternative to an elite liberal peace.


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