Peacebuilding in conflict-prone or post-conflict countries—such as East Timor, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone—aims to prevent the reemergence or escalation of violent conflict and establish a durable peace. This volume explores and critiques the “liberal” premise of contemporary peacebuilding: the promotion of democracy, market-based economic reforms, and a range of other institutions associated with modern states as a driving force for building peace. If a liberal peace is viable, is it also legitimate? Or is it, as some claim, a new form of hegemonic control or neo-imperialism? What is the relationship between statebuilding, liberal peacebuilding, and the more emancipatory agendas of peacebuilding? What or whose vision of the state is being promoted? Is peacebuilding a realist strategic enterprise meant to contain conflict and its international repercussions, or can it resolve the underlying sources of conflict and engage with grassroots actors and issues?
New Perspectives on Liberal Peacebuilding provides fresh insights into these debates. While focusing mainly upon cases of major UN peacebuilding, it also considers the implications and record of liberal peacebuilding through a wider range of experiences. It goes beyond the narrow focus on democracy and market economics by considering a wider area of activities, including the (re)construction of state institutions. With the involvement of scholars and analysts from conflict-prone and post-conflict societies, the book also discusses the implications of peacebuilding in broader debates about power, legitimacy, and international order.