Connecting the dots: Liberal peace and post-conflict violence and crime

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From the early 1990s onwards, a number of countries emerging from civil conflict have undergone extensive democratic and economic liberal reform via a process of post-conflict peace-building. Underlying such a process is the hegemonic discourse of liberal peace that aims to reconstruct and develop post-conflict societies along the core ideas of democratization, economic liberalization, respect for human rights and rule of law. Its implementation is generally assumed to be universally beneficial and thus acceptable to all. However, this article suggests that this is not the case as such liberalization can produce inequality, exacerbate perceptions of relative deprivation that cause a resurgence in post-conflict interpersonal violence and crime. In order to shed light on the discrepancy between its normative positive assumptions with the contrasting reality of its outcomes, this article provides a necessary critique of liberal peace discourse by examining its liberal economic underpinnings. In doing so, this article proposes that the liberal peace agenda embodies inequalities and fails to consider the long-term impact of economic liberalization and its relationship with rising levels of post-war crime and violence. As such, the legitimacy of the liberal peace as a route to post-war development is put under the spotlight and subjected to theoretical scrutiny. © 2014 SAGE Publications.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-273
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014