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Transformation – Overcoming the Limits of Liberal Peace and Transitional Justice in Deeply Divided Societies: Reconciliation in Liberal Peace Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2021

Or Avi-Guy*
Affiliation:
The Minerva Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.
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Abstract

This article explores the tension between the theoretical conceptualisations of liberal peace, transitional justice and reconciliation by focusing on power sharing as a liberal peace institution-building mechanism. Power sharing is based on the premise that identities in conflict in deeply divided societies are difficult, if not impossible, to change. The article outlines the limitations of liberal peace by demonstrating how the implementation of power-sharing arrangements creates a political reality in which conflict patterns are further entrenched, thus hindering the prospects of conflict transformation. In order to address the limitations of liberal peace, the article draws on models of transformative justice to highlight the growing need for a new conceptualisation of reconciliation as a political and transformative concept, in which both justice and reconciliation are recognised as intrinsic goals for post-conflict societies. Thus, the re-establishment of political structures and institutional reforms is envisaged not only as a tool to promote political stability, but as a means of facilitating transformation in conflict patterns in the political and social spheres.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press in association with the Faculty of Law, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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References

1 Johan Galtung, ‘Three Approaches to Peace: Peacekeeping, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding’ in Johan Galtung (ed), Peace, War and Defence: Essays in Peace Research (Ejlers 1976) 282.

2 Madhav Joshi, Sung Yong Lee and Roger Mac Ginty, ‘Just How Liberal Is the Liberal Peace?’ (2014) 21 International Peacekeeping 364.

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4 Boutros-Ghali (n 3) art 59.

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15 David Bloomfield, On Good Terms: Clarifying Reconciliation (Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management 2006) 9.

16 Schaap (n 11) 8.

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18 Jarstad, ibid.

19 Roland Paris, At War's End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict (Cambridge University Press 2004) 45; Benjamin Reilly, ‘Post-War Elections: Uncertain Turning Points of Transition’ in Jarstad and Sisk (n 17) 157, 157–59.

20 Anna K Jarstad, ‘Dilemmas of War-to-Democracy Transitions: Theories and Concepts’ in Jarstad and Sisk (n 17) 17.

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29 Gready and Robins (n 27) 341.

30 ibid.

31 ibid.

32 Wendy Lambourne, ‘Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding after Mass Violence’ (2009) 3 The International Journal of Transitional Justice 28, 29.

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34 Donais and Knorr (n 24) 54; Oliver P Richmond, ‘Introduction – Towards a Post-Liberal Peace: Exploring Hybridity via Everyday Forms of Resistance, Agency and Autonomy’ in Oliver P Richmond and Audra Mitchell (eds), Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism (Palgrave MacMillan 2012) 1, 5–12.

35 Stefanie Kappler, ‘Liberal Peacebuilding's Presentation of “the Local”: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina’ in Richmond and Mitchell, ibid 260; Adrian Little, Democracy and Northern Ireland: Beyond the Liberal Paradigm? (Palgrave MacMillan 2004); Chandra Lekha Sriram, ‘Post-Conflict Justice and Hybridity in Peacebuilding: Resistance or Cooptation?’ in Richmond and Mitchell, ibid 58.

36 Lambourne (n 5).

37 Richmond, Oliver P, ‘Becoming Liberal, Unbecoming Liberalism: Liberal-Local Hybridity via the Everyday as a Response to the Paradoxes of Liberal Peacebuilding’ (2009) 3 Journal of Intervention and State Building 324Google Scholar, 325.

38 ibid 326.

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40 Philpott (n 14) 391–92.

41 Joshi, Lee and Mac Ginty (n 2).

42 eg, Adrian Guelke (ed), Democracy and Ethnic Conflict: Advancing Peace in Deeply Divided Societies (Palgrave MacMillan 2004) 2.

43 Joanne McEvoy and Brendan O'Leary (eds), Power Sharing in Deeply Divided Places (University of Pennsylvania Press 2013).

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46 Sharp (n 25).

47 Timothy Sisk, Statebuilding: Consolidating Peace after Civil War (Polity Press 2013) 130.

48 Chandra Lekha Sriram, Peace as Governance: Power-Sharing, Armed Groups and Contemporary Peace Negotiations (Palgrave MacMillan 2008) 18–19.

49 Lijphart (n 44) 97.

50 Barry, Brian, ‘Political Accommodation and Consociational Democracy’ (1975) 5 British Journal of Political Science 477CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 480; Arend Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies (Yale University Press 1977) 25–44; Arend Lijphart, ‘Steps in My Research and Thinking about Power Sharing and Democratic Institutions’ (2013) (Special Issue) Taiwan Journal of Democracy 1, 3.

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55 Sriram (n 48) 19.

56 Lijphart (1977) (n 50) 25, 38.

57 Sriram (n 48) 18.

58 Barry (n 50) 480.

59 McGarry, John and O'Leary, Brendan, ‘The Political Regulation of National and Ethnic Conflict’ (1994) 47 Parliamentary Affairs 95Google Scholar, 112–13.

60 ibid.

61 ibid 113–14.

62 Lijphart (n 44) 96; Lijphart (2013) (n 50) 3.

63 Lambourne (n 32).

64 Lederach (n 33); John Paul Lederach, ‘Journey from Resolution to Transformative Peacebuilding’ in Cynthia Sampson and John Paul Lederach (eds), From the Ground Up: Mennonite Contributions to International Peacebuilding (Oxford University Press 2000) 45.

65 Rama Mani, Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War (Polity Press 2002); Rama Mani, ‘Rebuilding an Inclusive Political Community after War’ (2005) 36 Security Dialogue 511.

66 Luc Reychler, ‘Challenges of Peace Research’ (2006) 11 International Journal of Peace Studies 1.

67 Lambourne (n 32) 35, 37–45; Lambourne (n 5).

68 Lambourne (n 32) 45; Lambourne (n 5).

69 Gready and Robins (n 27) 351–52.

70 ibid 340.

71 Sharp (n 25).

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