Cooperation and Conflict

Latest documents

  • Friends in war: Sweden between solidarity and self-help, 1939–1945

    This article scrutinizes the assumption that friends support each other in times of war. Picking up the notion that solidarity, or ‘other-help’, is a key feature of friendship between states, the article explores how states behave when a friend is attacked by an overwhelming enemy. It directs attention to the trade-off between solidarity and self-help that governments face in such a situation and makes the novel argument that the decision about whether and how to support the friend is significantly influenced by assessments of the distribution of material capabilities and the relationship the state has with the aggressor. This proposition is supported empirically in an examination of Sweden’s response to its Nordic friends’ need for help during the Second World War – to Finland during the 1939–1940 ‘Winter War’ with the Soviet Union, and to Norway following the invasion of Germany from 1940 to 1945.

  • Unruly wives in the household: Toward feminist genealogies for peace research

    Feminist scholars and activists have historically been written out of peace research, despite their strong presence in the early stages of the field. In this article, we develop the concept of “wifesization” to illustrate the process through which feminist and feminized interventions have been reduced to appendages of the field, their contributions appropriated for its development but unworthy of mention as independent producers of knowledge. Wifesization has trickle-down effects, not just for knowledge production, but also for peacebuilding practice. We propose new feminist genealogies for peace research that challenge and redefine the narrow boundaries of the field, in the form of a patchwork quilt including early theorists, utopian writing, oral history, and indigenous knowledge production. Reflections draw on the authors’ engagements with several archives rich in cultures and languages of peace, not reducible to a “single story.” Recovering wifesized feminist contributions to peace research, our article offers a new way of constructing peace research canons that gives weight to long-standing, powerful, and plural feminist voices, in order to make peace scholarship more inclusive and ultimately richer.

  • Agonistic peace and confronting the past: An analysis of a failed peace process and the role of narratives

    This study analyzes how peace processes in socio-political environments that do not support ‘confronting the past’ (CTP) initiatives are affected by the exclusion and delegitimization of alternative narratives different from dominant ones concerning the nature and history of ethnic conflicts, focusing on Turkey’s failed peace process as a case study. It pays specific attention to the resistance against acknowledging alternatives to dominant narratives by considering the role played by bystanders and antagonistic citizens, who are not directly part of the conflict but nonetheless support it by remaining passive or directly/indirectly supporting dominant narratives. Driven by agonistic peace theory, the article shows how failing to turn these groups into agonistic citizens through some form of agonistic CTP initiative and allowing a space for alternative narratives can result in the fragility of efforts towards a transition to peace.

  • Comparative consultation: The theory and practice of ‘sharing lessons’ between peace processes

    Exchanges of expertise and experience between personnel involved in different peace processes are now a common feature of peacemaking worldwide. However, the goals, methods and impact of such interactions have been subject to little research. This article is the first scholarly analysis of what is here called ‘comparative consultation’. The article begins by conceptualising this work as a unique form of Track Two unofficial diplomacy, sharing the practical format and theoretical grounding of other Track Two approaches but differing in content. The empirical section is based on semi-structured interviews with 16 practitioners – primarily conflict resolution non-governmental organisation personnel and academics – who have facilitated dialogues on peace process topics (such as negotiation, transitional justice, grassroots peacebuilding) between peace process actors at various levels and from many contexts. It also draws on the author’s participation in a series of comparative consultation events. The findings focus on aspects of the organisation, purpose and potential, and limitations and possible risks of the practice. The conclusion sets out a model of the dimensions and potential impacts of comparative consultation and argues for its recognition as a distinct peace methodology. Avenues for further research and practice are outlined.

  • The EU’s hegemonic interventions in the South Caucasus: Constructing ‘civil’ society, depoliticising human rights?

    This article draws upon poststructuralist and postcolonial theories to examine the European Union’s (EU’s) policies of human rights promotion in the South Caucasus – notably, the EU’s engagement with local human rights activists and organisations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Contrary to most literature, which has been concerned with policy (in)effectiveness, this article is interested in problematising the discursive foundations of this EU-civil society ‘partnership’ in the realm of human rights promotion, as well as in retrieving the agency of actors who are ‘at the receiving end’ of EU policies. It is argued that the discursive construction of ‘civil’ society as a ‘good-Other’ of the EU-Self serves as a means to depoliticise the EU’s interventions, aiming at the approximation of ‘transitioning’ countries to the EU’s human rights standards. Although the hegemonic relation requires subaltern actors to perform the ‘civil’ society identity, processes of hybridisation and subversion arise as external interventions interact with local realities and meanings. Building on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations, the article shows how the hegemonic identity of ‘civil’ society is negotiated by South Caucasus ‘not-quite-civil’ actors striving for local legitimacy, financial survival or ownership of their human rights work.

  • When democratic governance unites and divides: Social status and contestation in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

    Scholars and practitioners are increasingly attentive to contestation against symbols and institutions underpinning international order(s). Yet International Relations scholarship can benefit from greater understanding of ways in which contestation interacts with salient dimensions of social status in specific international organizations (IOs). Drawing on evidence from the history of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), with a focus on democratic governance and human rights, this article analyzes status-related contestation as a significant, yet under-examined type of contestation in multilateral diplomacy. Status-related contestation conveys dissatisfaction about symbols, institutions, and actors which reinforce socially significant divisions that place a state (or group of states) at a social disadvantage in a particular multilateral venue. International organizations provide unique social contexts which affect the content of contestation. Building on scholarship in social psychology, constructivism, and status hierarchies in world politics, the article analyzes the evolution of a dimension (or basis) of social status in the OSCE and illustrates that, beyond domestic and material interests, state representatives communicate social identity-related concerns through language, for example, that expresses discontent with dividing lines, unfairness, or (dis)respect, in attempting to minimize negative social identities in multilateral organizations.

  • Emplacing the spatial turn in peace and conflict studies

    This introduction provides an overview for the following collection of articles that engage with, and aim to extend, recent scholarship emphasising space as a category of analysis in peace and conflict studies. Attempts to ‘spatialise’ this field of enquiry have emphasised the ways actors and ideas travel and transform across scale (from the personal to the local, regional and global) and how agents, actors and identities constitute, and are constituted by, space and place in dynamics of conflict and peace. Attention to space has increased appreciation of the complex nature of nature of war- and peace-‘scapes’, and reflects upon space as material and symbolic, given meaning through peoples’ embodied activity and interactions. The articles in this issue engage with the foundations of the spatial turn and build upon innovations in spatial analysis of peace and conflict by focussing on the idea of ‘emplacement’ and emplaced security as critical to peacebuilding efforts and processes of conflict transition. To do so, we consider place in a relational sense, focussing on attachment, affective connection and narratives of place-identity as these are connected with conflict management, security, governance and political ordering.

  • On ‘travelling traditions’: Emplaced security in Liberia and Vanuatu

    Important sources of everyday security – variously labelled as customary, informal, traditional or autochthonous – are commonly associated with rural spaces and attributed to the lack of presence or traction of state institutions. However, these practices are not limited to peripheries; they can travel. Their structures, authority and legitimacy can be re-produced in new settings, often in response to the perturbations caused by conflict, while also changing in the course of travel. Consequently, in urban spaces – the supposed ‘centre’ of the modern state – people’s sense of security can be profoundly influenced and shaped by the ordering logics of such ‘travelling traditions’. This has ramifications for ‘emplaced security’ – both short-term responses to acute vulnerability of displaced communities and emergent longer-term forms of order. This article explores the utility of the ‘spatial turn’ in peacebuilding theory for better understanding this phenomenon. It uses the cases of Vanuatu and Liberia to demonstrate how more nuanced understandings of the (re)construction of authority between and across places and scales may help comprehend how people generate everyday emplaced security. A spatial approach provides analytical leverage that can help to highlight how a phenomenon such as travelling traditions contributes to the formation and substance of emplaced security.

  • Death, emplaced security and space in contemporary Timor-Leste

    By adopting a spatial approach to analysis, this article examines the significance of death in Timor-Leste and its relationship to security and peace. The main argument is that a person’s security in Timor-Leste is very often made possible via the sustaining of what is referred to here as ‘cognate communities’ which comprise both the living and the spirits of the ancestral dead. Grave-making as a form of ‘emplaced security’ – an expression of agency which results in the creation or transformation of a place in order to mitigate threat – enables a particular kind of space whereby the living as part of cognate communities are able to venerate their dead. In turn, engagement with the ‘spatial turn’ demonstrates how this form of emplaced security is not static, but rather is dynamic and adaptive as communities formed through custom constantly interact with broader social changes and spatial transformations. Even as grave-making represents a micro-form of emplacement, such acts both produce and respond to different spatial orders, including more abstract forms bound up with nation formation. As such, the ‘spatial turn’ shows how burial represents both an intimate and petite act of place-making while also intersecting with different spatial orders and scales that interact with meta-narratives including religion, modernisation and nationalism.

  • Conflict transition, emplaced identity and the gendered politics of scale in Solomon Islands

    Although there is growing recognition that women’s participation is critical for the durability of peaceful conflict transition, grounded research examining the political scale of women’s participation has not been common. Where feminist researchers have tackled this topic, they have generally reproduced binary representations of political space, sometimes strongly critical of local spaces as restrictive of women, sometimes strongly critical of a hegemonic liberal international. In this article, I address the issue of women’s participation in conflict transition governance from another more ethnographic angle, drawing from fieldwork conducted in the Solomon Islands, a Pacific Islands country destabilised by conflict in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I apply theories of political scale to consider where and how women are politically active in the conflict transition environment, how that political activity is constituted relative to other political scales and where and how women seek to make their political ambitions understood. The ‘emplacement’ lens I develop offers a critical vantage point for analysis of the ways women constitute political identities and the agendas they might meaningfully progress, at scales ranging from the small worlds of the household and the community to the broader scale of national politics.

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