A Post-Liberal Peace

By Oliver Richmond

© 2011 – Routledge

288 pages

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Paperback: 9780415667845
pub: 2011-06-14
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Hardback: 9780415667821
pub: 2011-06-14
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About the Book

This book examines how the liberal peace experiment of the post-Cold War environment has failed to connect with its target populations, which have instead set about transforming it according to their own local requirements.

Liberal peacebuilding has caused a range of unintended consequences. These emerge from the liberal peace’s internal contradictions, from its claim to offer a universal normative and epistemological basis for peace, and to offer a technology and process which can be applied to achieve it. When viewed from a range of contextual and local perspectives, these top-down and distant processes often appear to represent power rather than humanitarianism or emancipation. Yet, the liberal peace also offers a civil peace and emancipation. These tensions enable a range of hitherto little understood local and contextual peacebuilding agencies to emerge, which renegotiate both the local context and the liberal peace framework, leading to a local-liberal hybrid form of peace. This might be called a post-liberal peace. Such processes are examined in this book in a range of different cases of peacebuilding and statebuilding since the end of the Cold War.

This book will be of interest to students of peacebuilding, peacekeeping, peace and conflict studies, international organisations and IR/Security Studies.


'Much of the credit for the seismic shift in reconceptualising peace and peacebuilding must go to Oliver Richmond. His latest book answers, head-on, the anti-political fatalism that there is no alternative to a liberal peace.' - Michael Pugh, University of Bradford, UK

‘Oliver Richmond's work is in the best tradition of critical scholarship: challenging comfortable assumptions, revealing internal contradictions, but also speaking to concrete policy.' - Simon Chesterman, NYU School of Law Singapore Programme, USA

‘The liberal nature of post-conflict reconstruction has become a much discussed topic. Oliver Richmond is among the most authoritative contributors to the respective debates, pointing towards the dangers of a top-down, state-centric and market-driven approach. A Post-Liberal Peace offers his most comprehensive and impressive take so far. He convincingly illumines, in particular, how local practices of resistance can contribute to what he calls a post-liberal peace: a hybrid arrangement that allows local actors to make reconstruction more sustainable than it could ever be through a mere external imposition of liberal institutions and procedures.' - Roland Bleiker, University of Queensland, Australia

'…well-researched and theoretically sound…Highly recommended.' -- CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: The Romanticisation of the Local 1. Civil Society, Needs, Welfare 2. The Culture of Liberal Peacebuilding 3. Critical Perspectives of Liberal Peacebuilding: Cambodia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Timor Leste 4. De-Romanticising the Local: Implications for Post-Liberal Peacebuilding Part 2: Hybridity and The Infrapolitics of Peace 5. Everyday Critical Agency and Resistance in Peacebuilding 6. De-romanticising the Local, De-Mystifying the International: Aspects of the Local-Liberal Hybrid. Conclusion: The Birth of A Post-Liberal Peace

About the Author

Oliver P. Richmond is a Professor in the School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews, UK, and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. His publications include The Transformation of Peace (2005), Peace in International Relations (Routledge, 2008) and Liberal Peace Transitions (with Jason Franks, 2009).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution

The field of peace and conflict research has grown enormously as an academic pursuit in recent years, gaining credibility and relevance amongst policy makers and in the international humanitarian and NGO sector. The Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution series aims to provide an outlet for some of the most significant new work emerging from this academic community, and to establish itself as a leading platform for innovative work at the point where peace and conflict research impacts on International Relations theory and processes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General