Accepted Paper:

A democratic peace-building  
Sandrine Lefranc (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

I describe democratic peacebuilding processes. Resting my conclusions on an extensive empirical study in different NGOs located in Europe I show how the expertise on deliberative peace cannot be separated from issues existing in more consolidated democracies.

Paper long abstract:

The proposed communication would deal with the capacity of democracy for conflict resolution in "divided societies" (i.e. potentially every society), analysed from the perspective of a "democratic peacebuilding", as opposed in particular to an elite-oriented peacebuilding. The point of departure of the study would be the emergence of a supposedly new model of conflict resolution (or "transformation") after a violent conflict. The model is more and more used by some international organizations (non governemental or governmental ones) to reconciliate divided societies while democratizing them.

This "democratic reconciliation" (reconciliation by means of democracy, democracy by means of reconciliation) resorts to different kinds of extensive dialogues (in "workshops" or "participative research", for example) and to specific tools that are supposed to produce societies of "unprejudiced people" ("radiopeacebuilding", interethnic kindergartens, etc.). These programs complement existing tools of democratic engineering (such as democratic institutions "capacity-building", the "strengthening of civil society", security forces training, etc.). They're equating a true democracy, defined precisely by its capacity more or less spontaneous of conflict regulation, and a true peace, that can't be, in the eyes of the peacemakers, undemocratic.

I would try to describe democratic peacebuilding processes and to analyse what can be learnt from this post-conflict situation about the capacity of democracy for conflict resolution. At the same time, resting my conclusions on an extensive empirical study (in different NGOs located in Europe, above all), I'd like to show how the expertise on "deliberative peace" can't be separated from issues existing in more consolidated democracies. The new peacebuilding model is, as a matter of fact, one of international developments of tools (known as restorative justice or alternative dispute resolution) first implemented in North America and other English-speaking countries, when the capacity of existing democratic institutions appeared to be eroded (with economic or racial conflicts).

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