In 2009 Liberal Peace Transitions (Edinburgh University Press) examined how, in the cases of Bosnia, Kosovo, Timor Leste, Cambodia, and the Middle East, liberal peacebuilding had collapsed into the altogether less ambitious statebuilding project and, in any case, had failed to produce democracy, rights, and justice. These internationally backed transitions, variously described as statebuilding or peacebuilding instead, had focused on security, institutional reform, and marketisation. Some aspects of these ‘programmes’ had increasingly been resisted or co-opted by local actors: from elites to social movements. They had produced to a large degree, oligarchical, authoritarian states and disaffected populations but little in the way of reconciliation, pluralism, or prosperity – goals that had been used to justify the initial interventionary focus on democratisation, human rights and a rule of law, civil society, and marketisation. This study concluded that hybrid outcomes were emerging, and the possibility of a hybrid peace was present though distant. Less clearly, its line of thought pointed to the emergence of rather negative hybrid forms of peace where the tensions between local legitimacy and long-standing power structures, international norms and rights, and capitalism, rendered the interventionary project ineffective and even redundant.
This follow-on study, extends this argument in order to understand the interplay of forces that shape ‘peace’ in the modern state, in an expanded range of case studies, including Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Solomon Islands, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Northern Ireland, and Israel–Palestine. It outlines the often countervailing forces and norms of state formation, statebuilding, and peacebuilding according to their associated theoretical approaches. It explores the concept of peace formation which focuses on localised peace agency and its institutional evolution. Hence, peace formation counterbalances peacebuilding's juxtaposition of internal violence with externalised institutional agency, reform and conditionality. It offers the possibility of connecting local interests with international intervention, local state formation, and thus a broader legitimacy: a more positive form of hybrid peace. According to the evidence compiled in this study, the states emerging from statebuilding will remain as they are, however – failed by design – if they fail to incorporate a better understanding of the multiple and often critical agencies involved in peace formation. We seek evidence about the positive aspects of hybrid peace, despite such dynamics.