Relational sensibility in peacebuilding: emancipation, tyranny, or transformation?

Brigg, Morgan (2013). Relational sensibility in peacebuilding: emancipation, tyranny, or transformation?. In Wren Chadwick, Tobias Debiel and Frank Gadinger (Ed.), Relational Sensibility and the 'Turn to the Local': Prospects for the Future of Peacebuilding (pp. 12-18) Duisburg, Germany: Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK / GCR21).

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Brigg, Morgan
Title of chapter Relational sensibility in peacebuilding: emancipation, tyranny, or transformation?
Title of book Relational Sensibility and the 'Turn to the Local': Prospects for the Future of Peacebuilding
Place of Publication Duisburg, Germany
Publisher Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK / GCR21)
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Open Access Status
Series Global Dialogues
ISSN 2198-1957
2198-0403
Editor Wren Chadwick
Tobias Debiel
Frank Gadinger
Volume number 2
Start page 12
End page 18
Total pages 7
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The past two decades of peacebuilding policy, practice, and research have seen the gradual emergence and consolidation of a significant discursive phenomenon. This apparently new way of talking about and framing peacebuilding efforts draws upon the practical wisdom of practitioners as well as institutional and scholarly sources of authority to make knowledge claims that influence peacebuilding policy and practice. The discourse has its recent origins in the burgeoning of the peacebuilding field from the early 1990s, and particularly in the challenges made apparent by failures and intractable situations on the ground. In response, more and more practitioners and commentators have come to think differently about what should be done to advance peacebuilding and how to do it, in part by framing frustrations and failures as opportunities for learning and improved practice. In this new way of thinking, opportunities can be realised in significant part by thinking differently about the roles of the interveners and the ‘intervened-upon’; by recalibrating the relations between ‘internationals’ and ‘locals’. The recalibration involves, so the discourse goes, what might be termed a ‘relational sensibility’ – an attitude in which international and local interlocutors are focused, much more centrally than had previously been the case, on partnership, relationship and exchange.

The ‘relational sensibility’ discourse in peacebuilding is apparently in good company for it aligns with significant and innovative shifts that are afoot in our understandings of the social world, from systems-based approaches and complexity theory to the analysis of emergent and networked (rather than hierarchical) forms of order. But this discursive phenomenon also raises important questions. Does it offer exciting news ways to improve and advance peacebuilding practice, redressing previously iniquitous power relationships to secure a more just and peaceful world through a democratizing ethos? Or does it herald a disturbing new era of double-speak that removes responsibility and destroys possibilities for meaningful collective action by dressing up failure as (possibilities for) success while entrenching existing power relations? Or yet again, can understanding and engaging with this phenomenon offer possibilities for transformation by intensifying its best effects and countering possible negative consequences?
Keyword Peacebuilding
Conflict
Q-Index Code BX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Sat, 01 Mar 2014, 15:47:41 EST by Morgan James Brigg on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies