Between internal and external: exploring the dialectics of peace-building and state-building in Africa
Aleksi Ylönen (United States International University - Africa)
Alexander Zhukov (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences)
Giulia Piccolino (Loughborough University)
Dr. Daniel Mekonnen
Start time:
27 June, 2013 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The panel focuses on the interaction between major internal protagonists and their external counterparts in peace and statebuilding interventions in Africa. By emphasizing both actors in these interventions, it seeks to reach beyond the generic "liberal peace" agenda and calls for "local ownership".

Long abstract:

A comparative analysis of post-conflict situations in Africa in the last two decades reveals an extremely complex and intricate nature of interaction between major internal protagonists and those who are seen as their external counterparts. On the one hand, much of the policy-oriented literature on peace and statebuilding continues to neglect the agency of national and local protagonists, or expresses generic calls for "local ownership", without problematizing the concept of ownership and investigating local agendas. Alternatively, it is still not uncommon for the academic discourse to provide a simplistic account of the role of external protagonists, seen as forces guided solely by their own interests or by a standardized "liberal peace" agenda. This panel aims at exploring the highly complex and often cross-coupling interplay between internal and external actors in post-conflict peace and statebuilding engagements in contemporary Africa. By focusing on the historically contextualized relationship between the two categories of protagonists, it seeks to gain a deeper insight into the 'internal dimension' of external engagements. By using the term 'dialectics', the panel highlights, in particular, that external agendas tend to be more influenced by internal political dynamics than is often assumed. Therefore, the panel pinpoints both the way the internal protagonists resist, subvert, and capture the international agenda for post-conflict peace and statebuilding, and the methods and strategies used by major external stakeholders to associate their policies with the agendas of national and local protagonists to make their involvements appear 'more internally driven'.